The Reality of Cell Phone Addiction
We’re always hesitant to give credence to the idea that something like using a digital device has the addictive capacity of powerful narcotics because the experience is clearly different, but addiction is addiction and there’s no denying the fact that we people of the modern world have an unhealthy relationship with our mobile devices.
Researchers recently examined the cell phone habits of two thousand 18-24 year olds in English speaking countries and found some startling results. The average Millennial in this age bracket checks his/her phone every nine minutes and fifty seconds. Every ten minutes! One in twenty will check their phone every minute of their waking day. That’s a staggering frequency when you consider all the other things people do every day like drive, talk to real humans, and you know... look up to watch where they’re walking.
Certain European countries and Japan have actually installed “texting lanes” on busy urban sidewalks so that people who are wandering along staring at their phones can be separate from people who are actually paying attention to their surroundings. It’s a serious issue.
Social media apps account for the majority of this cell phone habit. The data streams are absolutely endless. There is no way to see it all so you just keep scrolling... and scrolling... and scrolling...
Folks in the 35-44 age bracket are a bit less tethered to this digital umbilical cord with an average of 21 minutes in between phone checks. At the 45-54 year old bracket, the interval gets up to 36 minutes.
These figures don’t necessarily mean that everyone using a mobile device has a debilitating addiction that is adversely affecting their health but these numbers are rather substantial and a vast majority of polled college students will admit to feeling “addicted” to their phones and frequently get anxious if they get separated from the device that connects them to the world.
Any behavior that overrides our normal everyday functioning and has adverse effects on our relationships and health is considered an unhealthy addiction. It’s important to be aware of the effect cell phones have on our daily lives and relationships. It’s possible that we may see a rash of “rehabilitation” for cell phone dependency in the future.