Are you addicted on your cell phone? If you answered no, maybe you should think again, because with WattsApp, social networks, various apps, SMS and internet many of us spend more time with our heads bowed towards our cell phones than staring at the sky or into the eyes of others.
Cell phone dependence: research reveals levels of daily use
Cell phone dependence is a sad reality. But have you ever asked yourself how many times a day you pick up your phone – if only just to check the screen for some notification or for a missed call? Here is the average number: 221 times.
This is the figure revealed by British market research companyOne Poll. According to their study, cell phone dependence is common in advanced nations and transcends age, gender and social status.
On average we start using our cell phones at 7:23 in the morning and finish at 23:21 at night – using the phone for almost 3 hours in total during the day. Add these hours up for a week and it’s almost 24 hours. In reality its like spending a whole day every week attached to our phones. And why do we use them? To log in to social networks, send emails, write SMS's, surf the web, use apps and of course, to make calls.
Humans are social beings, we need to constantly communicate with others – but if we’re not careful we risk falling into the trap of cell phone dependence and going into digital overdose.
Cell phone dependence: lack of awareness
The most surprising aspect is that we have no idea how much we are using our cell phones. Studies have shown that people are using their phones almost double as much as they think. And when this is pointed out to them, the more they deny it!
Conscious use and control of the medium has vanished. Use of cell phones has become so automatic we don’t even notice it anymore.
What happens when you take away cell phones? Removed Social, a photographic project by Eric Picksergill
To highlight with humor and irony the cell phone dependence phenomenon are recent works by American photographer Eric Picksergill. In his project Removed Social, he captures, in a series of amusing images the use of smartphones in our most intimate moments. It is evidence that we are truly obsessed. The images show that cell phones are present in every second of the day: while seated at the table with the family, when we’re with our children, in bed getting ready to sleep and from the moment we wake up.
The most interesting and original aspect of this project is that the cell phones have been removed from the hands of the models. All that remains is a ridiculous pose, a hand that clasps an inexistent cell phone, a strongly ironic metaphor of how digital tools give the illusion of communication with others and of a social life, but in reality alienate us because they interfere with real relationships and communication with real people.
The new digital culture: is it possible to escape dependence?
The basic question then is: are we now resigned to a constant expectation, anxiety and addiction to our cell phones and all digital media in general, or is it still possible to find the right balance? Are we facing a growing gap between real and virtual life, which is endangering our relationships? Is it worth learning how to make good digital resolutions, perhaps with small sacrifices?
To begin with, it would be good if there were awareness of the need to create and spread a "culture" of correct and appropriate use of new media and social networks.
This is the first step to building a future balanced, free and healthy for families and society in general.
There is a lack of knowledge about smart and conscious use of smartphones, tablets and similar devices. Just as there is a vast and widespread culture for balanced and healthy diets, which protect us from disease and allow us to lead balanced lives, there is need for a ‘technology diet’ to avoid excesses that may harm the body and mind
What we should begin with by considering is what digital technology taking away from us? For example, in terms of capacity for reasoning and computing information, memory and attention. What important life values, such as friendship, love or personal relationships are becoming affected?
Is it even possible to escape cell phone dependence and put technology back in its rightful place, finding a healthy way to combine information society with the parts of our lives that we are neglecting? You should not remove the technology, would make no sense and would be anachronistic. But you have to resize and avoid unnecessary use, to find the balance lost.
We shouldn’t criticize or demonize technology because it is useful, but it is like food. Have too much and it causes obesity.