Smartphone Addiction

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons via Flickr

We all know smartphones have taken off in the past couple years. It would be safe to say that the large majority of people, especially in urban centres, own smartphones. Everywhere you go, be it the shopping mall, coffee shop, airport, you will see people glued to their phones.

At restaurants, I often see lots of people on their phones. Young people take selfies of each other and post to their various social networks. Even seniors are surfing and reading on their (larger Android) phones. Tonight however, I saw something a little more unusual.

We witnessed a family of three, a mom and a dad, and their little girl of about two years old, Who had nothing to do while waiting for food because both of her parents were on their phones. Both were doing their own thing, while the daughter just patiently sat there, doing nothing. Later on, my wife and I discussed that, if this was happening at restaurants, it probably was the norm at home too, and that was why the daughter was so well-behaved. As the saying goes in French, “Quel dommage! “(What a shame!). The poor girl barely got any attention from her parents for what seemed like 15+ minutes.

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons via Flickr

I'll admit that I am also somewhat addicted to my phone. While I do not necessarily play a ton of games on it, I do enjoy reading articles and blogs, on both my iPhone or iPad. I say “addicted” in the sense that I can't see myself not owning a smartphone again, and that I can't imagine what it would be like to not have instant access all the time. The smartphone can accomplish so much, that I could never go without it. As an example, I was able to process an insurance claim and pay a cable bill while waiting for my wife at the grocery store!

But there must be some balance. As a family rule, we do not take out our devices at meal time (at restaurants and at home). This was laid out clearly over a decade ago, long before smartphones become the norm.

As a New Year's resolution, I plan to be even more cognizant of my usage of technology, especially while I am with my family. I will plan to spend only my “personal time” with my devices. Family (and friends) should come first.

How about you? Are you a technology addict? Have you seen a lot of people in public glued to their smartphones? Do you have any “rules” for devices at home? Please let me know in the comments.



5 Comments Add yours

  1. MrCavey says:

    Great challenge to start off 2014 – thanks. Smart phones have become an integral part of our lives, but your point about keeping them in their rightful place is well taken. One boundary that I find personally helpful is to bar my phone from the bedroom, which protects my quality of sleep and removes the endless distractions that remain at arm’s length when our phones are bedside. For other self-confessed smart phone addicts, I definitely recommend taking this step as well. Your body and mind will thank you.

  2. Wendi Lau says:

    I see this all the time. I scold my family when I see them doing it at home, with the tv on! However, my kids also see how pointless it is for those people gathering or being together if they are all going to be on their smartphones. Using smartphones to pass the time instead of thinking, conversing, or observing reduces people’s abilities to make eye contact, listen, and be thoughtful. Kids forget how to play when they use a smartphone for entertainment. It reduces depth of thought because info or entertainment is only going one way.

    I remind my kids that they are training their brains, at its most impressionable time (literally, from neuroplasticity), to use their phones for stimulation. They are encouraged to have phone conversations instead of texty ones and no social media except as a professional presence in college.

    Maintaining a sense of self, calm and thoughtful, means not becoming an eyeball and attention slave to the phone. Is it your tool or are you its rat?

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