The Love-Hate Relationchip
After one long week of suffering from the absence of my smartphone I got a new one. The old one couldn’t be repaired. So, when I held that brand new phone in my hands I really saw a little angel and a little devil sitting on my shoulders. Should I really turn it on and install all the old apps on it or should I stick with my old-school phone? I decided to turn it on. I missed 30 “WhatsApp” messages in 1 week.
The trouble returns
I immediately switched back to my old habits. I used Facebook a million times a day, I am on “What’sApp” almost 24/7 and I don’t miss any mails that land in my inbox. I just can’t help myself. I read through pages of how to overcome that addiction but nothing seems to be working thoroughly. I even spend a lot of time thinking about the next smartphone I want to get (which, I know, is really paradox when I already know that I might have an unhealthy relation to my phone). You know how they say; a fault confessed is half redressed, right? After admitting my weakness my mind wandered off into other spheres that could be affected by smartphones.
Except from psychological issues are there more disadvantages of smartphones?
Well, on the one hand there is the problem of your posture. Looking down at a small screen is not just bad for your neck and shoulders but your eyes have a hard time looking at the small letters, which is just too strengthening for them.
On the other hand, which I also found very shocking, recent studies show that more and more people also use their smartphones while driving and cause many accidents. The GHSA estimated that 15 % – 25 % of all car accidents were caused by a distraction from a phone. About 40 % of people admit of using their phones while driving. However, you cannot be entirely sure what causes those accidents but when I watch people driving weirdly I often find out that they were texting while driving. This isn’t only a thread to their lives but that of everyone else around them. One app which could prevent accidents like that from happening is “DriveSmart” from T-Mobile which sends incoming calls directly to voicemail saying “I’m driving now, let me call you later”.
But is this the solution to the problem?
Probably not. The problem is that people WANT to be available all the time. Some fear of missing out on something. It is sometimes just too tempting to hear your phone ring and to check who was calling or writing you. Some people cannot wait a few minutes to check their phones and they risk being killed in a car accident. I’m luckily not one of them. As I stated, I think that I am somewhat addicted to smartphones but while driving? This is a huge No-No to me and I leave my phone in my handbag. Seems like a very simple thing to do but I find it really effective and it is the solution for me of not checking my phone all the time. This also applies to other situations than driving.
It’s not just the smartphones
The problem of addiction and other health issues doesn’t only concern smartphones. It is a widely spread problem. In my last blog post I talked about Nicholas Carr, who I believe is a very interesting person. He not only talked about the problems of smartphones nowadays but about our internet fixed society and what happens to us when being so connected. In his essay “Is Google making us stupid?” he also tells us about the problems arising with for example reading online and just skimming the texts. People are not used to reading long texts any longer and have problems in doing so.
Are we really becoming more stupid?
I fear that Carr is right to some extend and I’m afraid that I don’t see a way out. Being so dependent on technical devices is a bad thing for our society. I’m not saying “Throw out all the technology and let’s go back to the roots!” but I’d rather say “Be more aware of how much technology you’re using and if it’s really necessary to use it in that moment”. I mean, how about you get off Facebook for one day and you start reading a good old book and use your imagination and let your brain do the work?