Smartphone Addiction: Does it Apply to You or Someone You Know?

First off, I have to say: I’ve had a smartphone for a few years now.  About 3 years, actually.  I enjoy it, and do think that it’s become something I count on to a degree.  It’s one of those things that once you have become accustomed to having it, the times in the past with a flip phone seem like the olden days.  Days without a cellphone seem like the stone ages!

Nevertheless, I’ll draw a line at a certain point.  For example, when thinking about how often to upgrade a smartphone, many people want to it as quickly as their agreement will allow.  Some even go faster than the ubiquitous 2 year agreement, and upgrade even sooner.  They can’t help themselves! Addicted to new technology, perhaps?

Well, for me it’s worth waiting that extra year.  I’m in year 3, and am thinking about replacing it in the next few months.  It certainly didn’t hurt me over the last year to have a smartphone that was cutting edge back in 2010!

Another phone addiction that many people seem to have is, well, using the phone itself! Not just buying a new phone, but using the one you have all the time.  As in, checking your phone constantly, no matter what the situation.

This came to mind recently when I was at a local restaurant and saw what appeared to be a teenager and his grandmother out for lunch.  It seemed as though the grandma was taking her grandson out for his birthday.   Kind of neat to see something like this, actually.

Of course, aside from all the goodwill that comes from going out for 1:1 time with a grandparent, is the reality that the kid must actually pay attention to the grown-up as well.  This is where the kid wasn’t quite being fair.  I just couldn’t help but notice that periodically while his grandmother was talking to him, he would be looking down at his phone.  He kept the phone under the table, out of sight from her.  However, it doesn’t take a whole lot of awareness or common sense for the other person (or anyone else around) to notice what you’re doing.

As an observer, it was clear that there is no way the person on the phone was paying attention to his dinner companion.

I’ve noticed this in professional situations as well.  In long meetings, people might periodically check phones.  It’s not just checking – it’s talking too.  Or perhaps I should say communicating, as they’re either emailing or texting.  For all I know, people could be tweeting.  Januarybe if they’re crazy, they could be blogging :)

This phenomenon is something I’ve noticed at a park too.  A mom with her kids saying “Mom! Mom!”, trying to get her attention, were met with silence.  She was busy on her phone.  Not doing anything important, I’m sure, as it was on a weekend.  But she was very distracted, not even able to pay attention to the kids who were asking for her.

Anyway, when you step back and watch someone ignore another person (or people), it makes one wonder if you do this on occasion yourself.  And, it’s eye opening just how disrespectful it looks.

It sure doesn’t feel disrespectful when I check email, or text someone.  What’s 30 seconds to send a message or two?

Well, when we watch others do it in that type of context, it just doesn’t look good all the time.  It almost seems like the person on the phone is addicted to the smartphone.  Am I addicted to my smartphone?  I don’t think so, even though I like it.  But the line between liking the phone and being hooked on is probably more gray than meets the eye.

Readers, if you have a smartphone, are you addicted to it? Have you seen others that are hooked on smartphones? What are your thoughts on this phenomenon of people always checking their phones seemingly constantly?

13 thoughts on “Smartphone Addiction: Does it Apply to You or Someone You Know?

  1. Eric

    I used to be a borderline addict, but I think I have it under control now. The biggest step for me was taking Facebook off my phone.

    1. Post author

      That would help. Facebook can be such a huge time drain for many people, and with very little return for that time invested!

  2. Betsy / CollegeMom

    I forget to charge my smart phone as much as I forgot to charge my flip phone, so….nah…I’m not addicted. I don’t even have my voicemail set up….which is fine because I never check it. If you have my cell number, then it means I trust you enough with my email and home number….which means if you really want or need to talk with me you have other ways to reach me.

    I’m in my 50s and I guess my idea of common courtesy hasn’t changed with technology. My daughters leave their phones in their purses or pockets when we are out together. I don’t know if they do that away from me. I hope so.

    1. Post author

      Well, at least they’re not doing that with you there. They’re showing respect where it’s due, and that’s a good thing.

  3. Jon @ MoneySmartGuides

    I dated a girl once who paid more attention to her phone than she did anyone else: me, friends, family, etc. Needless to say, I wasn’t interested in “competing” for her attention. Personally, I just don’t see the need to always be on my phone.

    1. Post author

      I know what you mean, it can happen to bloggers. It’s important to keep balance, no question.

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