Wherever you go, smartphones can be spotted.
People live their daily lives without constantly checking their notifications, while others seem to be unable to function without their phones.
In 2016, the need to always be checking or using our phones should be considered a problem. Cell phone addiction is real, and it’s stirring up issues.
With social media and the internet, information has never been easier to access.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be in the loop. It’s okay to check up on your friends from high school and update yourself on their latest adventures. But where do we divide overuse and addiction?
I think an addiction to cell phones becomes a reality as soon as we start losing focus on what’s happening in the present.
When I walk around any downtown core, where shops line each side of the road and bodies fill the sidewalks, I can point out people walking with their heads down.
They’re not looking at the cracks in the pavement; they’re absorbed in their phones.
Glancing down while walking towards intersections, groups of people, or any sort of obstruction is dangerous. It’s time to put that phone in your coat pocket and focus on getting through the crosswalk unharmed.
Your daring and witty tweet can wait until you make it home safely.
A recent study from the University of Derby found that one in eight people surveyed are addicted to their phones.
Other researchers suggest that the more we stop what we are doing to glance at our phones, the more it affects our attention span.
I see that as problematic
If I have my phone beside me while reading this and a notification lights up my screen, I’ll probably check what it is, but my focus is taken away from the article when I stop reading and reply.
I’m losing focus from what I decided is important a few minutes ago, because of a simple notification.
This happens to many people.
Studies suggest that this becomes more of a problem every year.
Some individuals can’t seem to stay on task when distractions like social media are so close.
I believe that people don’t want cell phone overuse to become a problem, but the desire to always be connected to the digital world overpowers them.
I also believe that cell phone overuse and addiction stems from the positive feelings we receive from seeing a cute cat video on Facebook, or the ‘I love you’ text from a spouse.
Those have positive reinforcements to them.
If the tool that lets you see these things isn’t there, that can create anxiety and negative feelings. I used to always want to check Twitter, but it would disrupt me from doing other tasks.
Over time, I taught myself to leave my phone alone for 10 minutes. Now, I could go hours without checking my social feed.
And with those clever features on Twitter that show you what you missed while away, I never have to worry about missing tweets from my favourite artist and internet friend.
Those who love their smartphones will understand the impulse to check on their email or social feeds wherever they may be. It’s so strong for some that it doesn’t matter where you are, you just have to check your phone.
Just like there’s a time and a place for everything, these impulses take over social interactions and family dinners.
Take a glance next time you’re in a restaurant and see how many phones are up on the table. Conversations that should be buzzing can be taken over by conversations through a piece of technology.
Of course this doesn’t happen at every single table, but it does seem to be a common sighting.
A conversation interrupted by cell phones is also irritating.
If I’m there to talk to you, I hope that you want to do the same.
If I’m trying to tell you about the newest addition to my book collection, I would love to hear feedback and interest in your voice.
What I don’t want to see when I glance at you is your face buried in your phone’s screen and fingers tapping away. Ask almost anyone, they could tell you if that happens to them, they aren’t feeling great about it.
Cell phones should never distract us from others and what’s happening around us.
Cell phones are in no way a bad thing, I love my phone, and I use it every day.
So let me clear that up, I don’t hate cell phones. They are a wonderful tool that helps us keep connected.
They deliver us news, facts, and entertainment whenever we go.
Smartphones help us with day-to-day routines and track our events and schedules.
They are something that in a constantly moving world, can help us feel more grounded and in touch.
But when it stops someone from having a conversation in person, and causes people to experience anxiety when they don’t have access to their phones for a few minutes, it’s an issue we have to fix.