I recently found myself without a phone and waiting for my replacement to arrive, I noticed something. Day 2 felt more like day 200. My unhealthy habit was starting to come out the woodwork.
It stalked me late at night as I lay wide awake in bed, counting the cracks that had long ago appeared in my ceiling. The following morning I was struck by how lifeless and neglected my headphones seemed, waiting to be paired with their usual morning dose of Spotify. As I was sitting on the tube on my way to work, I had failed to reach even 1% of my usual morning allowance of social media scrolling… If you can’t see where I’m going with this, I’m pleased to say that you, my friend, are one of the few lucky ones free from the epidemic of phone addiction. Seems quite a strong self-diagnosis doesn’t it? I’m addicted to my phone. I’m sure, well I know, that we’ve almost all been there. Frantically scrolling through a new profile which has caught our eye to give ourselves a necessary fix.
Even as I write this, I catch myself trying to rationalise smartphone addiction and its effects. Mankind has developed a device that gives access to virtually all available human knowledge — what could be wrong with that? Not only this, but apps allow us to track our physical surroundings, communicate with others regardless of their whereabouts, and document our experiences. All at the push of a button, all from anywhere, at any time. Surely the smartphone is an unequivocally good thing…right?
However, this doesn’t detract from the perils of phone obsession. Social anxiety, iPosture and ‘no-phone phobia’ are all products of our reliance on smart phones, and it doesn’t stop there. On Instagram, manicured feeds and edited pictures can lead to body dysmorphia. Personally, I constantly compare myself to members of the Kardashian clan, something which we all fall foul of every once in a while… Even as I write this, I’m being brought sharply down to earth about how serious this kind of addiction can be. Perhaps I won’t go on my phone ever again…
Sounds a bit dramatic doesn’t it, but where does the happy medium lie? We live in a world where technology has invaded all aspects of our everyday lives and is impacting the psychological wellbeing of our younger generations. We have to start asking the crucial questions. Namely, is phone addiction something we all have to accommodate, whether we want to or not?
I feel overwhelmed looking at the bigger picture. Have you really thought about it? Go on, really think about technology and how it’s now indispensable in banking, education, research and entertainment. The world as we know it is being curated by cyber heads, coders and app entrepreneurs. In all honestly, I believe that the individuals sitting in Silicon Valley are completely oblivious of the impact their actions are having on people’s lives. Perhaps that’s foolish of me to think; especially with apps like Instagram deliberately controlling what they want us to see through algorithms.
I guess the real question I find myself asking is; have we now embedded technology too deeply in our lives? Is there nothing we can do to challenge smartphones’ central role? What if over-usage continues, to the point of destabilising the mental well-being of not only our own but the generations to follow?