This past weekend, I read this interesting article on CNN about how three smartphone owners kept diaries for a week about their smartphone addiction. The full article, “800 texts in one week? Diaries of 3 smartphone addicts,” can be found at http://www.cnn.com/2012/10/05/tech/mobile/smartphone-addicts/index.html.
In the article, three smartphone addicts kept track of their smartphone usage during one week, which involved tracking their Facebook usage to how many texts they sent in one week. The text usage by these addicts ranged from 399 to 423 messages sent in one week.
This article got me thinking about my own smartphone usage. I decided to keep track of my own usage over just the weekend (Saturday and Sunday). I sent 179 text messages in those two days alone (granted they were mostly to my boyfriend who currently lives an hour and a half away). If that usage was consistent for a week, I’d be looking at about 626 text messages in a week, which is a lot more than even these smartphone addicts said they sent. However, I think that it’s a possibility that they might have kept their numbers down to appear not so addicted.
So, maybe I text my boyfriend a little too much. We do spend a lot more time apart since he graduated and moved back home, so texting helps us stay better connected so we don’t miss each other as much. I am a little shocked that I may possibly text that much in just one week. However, I do text a lot less during weekdays due to schoolwork and classes, so my estimate is probably off quite a bit.
Looking at Facebook usage, I checked my Facebook news feed about eight times during the weekend. I tend to check Facebook frequently out of short boredom since my phone is right by me most of the time. I left three comments on Facebook, liked five posts, and had one status update over the weekend. I also checked my Twitter feed five times over the two days.
Looking at the rest of my smartphone usage over the weekend, I checked my e-mail three times, checked the weather forecast five times, checked CNN three times, checked TV Guide three times, used Google at least five times, and I listened to music for about 30 minutes.
Below is an NBC Network news clip I found on YouTube related to smartphone addiction in regards to social media, that really can make you think about the presence of your smartphone in your life.
So, what has my keeping track of my smartphone usage over two days shown me in relation to smartphone addiction? I think I text a little too much and I need to use Facebook and Twitter less. Before I had a smartphone, I know I didn’t text as much and I only checked Facebook two times a day at most to just go through some of my news feed from the day.
I know most of the younger generation today have their phones with them wherever they go, even if it’s just to go into another room for awhile. I don’t remember it being like that for me when I had a non-smartphone, or as I like to call it, a “dinosaur phone.” I would use my phone mainly for casual texting and calling, and suffer through a crappy mobile internet to check my e-mail.
I think that with smartphones, we are facing an information overload having so much available to us at all times, and this makes us retreat to our phones constantly. I have a family member who has always been concerned about excessive cell phone usage, especially when guests come over, and I have always thought she was being a bit extreme at times. I believe now that she had a point in some ways.
Maybe we should try to reduce our smartphone usage, especially if it may get in the way of relationships. Especially when you are having dinner with someone and feel the need to check Facebook or the news while waiting for the food to arrive, instead of giving full attention to the other person. I will admit that I have been guilty of this.
I think maybe a “smartphone detox” could be healthy for all of us once in awhile. Just put your phone away, out of sight, for a few hours, and relax and have full concentration on work or the people you are spending time with. It might make a difference and maybe make you less stressed. As I am writing this, I plan to take my own advice tonight as I am working on a project and relaxing before bed.