Thursday, September 20, 2012

Are you addicted to your cell phone?

It was a sign of the times in our house last night. My mom asked me to do something. "Uh-huh," I replied. "Hurry up," she said. "It always takes you so long to do things because you're always on your phone."

The words cut and stung just a little bit. Mainly, well, because they were true. My mom was right. Ever since I got a Blackberry a few years ago, it's become my version of a credit card -- I never leave home without it. In fact, it's always with me, whether I even leave home or not. And speaking of leaving home, here's another typical scenario: My mom, sister and I will go out to lunch. Like clockwork, the second we take our last bite, my mom and I will whip out our phones, afraid we've missed any important breaking news or emails in the last 30 minutes. My sister sighs and rolls her eyes in annoyance and frustration. She's proud of the fact that she's, as she proclaims, "off the grid" -- she still sports a bare-bones flip phone. No emailing from her phone. No texting. No special bells and whistles. Her cell phone is just, well, a phone -- it can make and receive calls. That's it. Every time I get on her case about it, she gives me the same answer: "I'd rather interact with people in real life than over a phone."
She has a point, at least according to research from the University of Essex. Researchers had pairs of strangers sit in a private booth and discuss an intimate topic for 10 minutes. A few feet away, out of their direct line of vision, there was a desk that held a book and one other item. That second item was the key difference for each group. For some groups, the second item was a cell phone, whereas other pairs conversed while a pocket notebook lay nearby. "The pairs who chatted in the presence of the cell phone reported lower relationship quality and less closeness," the researchers concluded. The researchers also studied the context of the interactions to see which topic of conversation was affected the most by the presence of a cell phone. Pairs were assigned either a casual or meaningful topic to discuss. The result? You can probably guess -- the presence of a cell phone had no effect on relationship quality, as long as the pair discussed a casual topic. But, relationship quality suffered significantly if a cell phone was nearby.
We all know that cell phones have created a distracted culture, but seeing the evidence in black and white will make me think twice the next time I reach for my Blackberry. Confession: As I'm writing this post, I keep checking my email on my Blackberry. Yikes!

Are you addicted to your phone, friends? How do you stop yourself from constantly checking email, texting or even playing Angry Birds? I'd love to hear your tips and tricks!
[Photos via We Heart It]


  1. My phone and I are in a pretty serious relationship, but I put it away when I'm at home. It hangs out in another room during dinner, and I prefer it that way!

  2. I am soooo addicted to both my phone and my laptop! It's a major problem.

  3. I'm with your sister. I have an old basic flip phone too. No texting, no camera, no internet. It makes me really sad when I see people out at a restaurant together, both texting away and paying no attention to the person they're sitting right across from. And in NYC, it's impossible to walk down the street without someone walking straight into you because they're chatting with their fingers. I never thought I'd be clamoring for "the good old days before the world got so complicated!" in my 30s!

  4. I wouldn't say i'm addicted. I still interact with my family and friends in person. The only time I'm actually glued to my phone is when I'm bored. That's when I whip out my phone for entertainment. This is such a funny posts although it's definitely true.

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  5. This is why I still don't have a smartphone (shocking, right?). I'm so glued to my email as it is, that I know I'll be a total maniac if I have internet access 24-7!

  6. Like Gloria, I've avoided smartphone ownership primarily because I don't want work to think I'll be checking my e-mails 24/7. Excessive cell phone usage usually doesn't bother me, but we have interns in our office who text through meetings and presentations and even text through their own welcome lunches, and we've been diligently explaining to each new batch that they need to cut it out pronto.

  7. LOL! Sad to say... It's like I'm my phone's mistress LOL... even before I sleep... I will check my phone. But this is great informative post. I love it! and love your blog. In fact, I'm your new follower via gfc! Have a great weekend :)

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  8. I have a great phone, and it comes to handy when I'm by myself. But I'm happy I am able to put it away for hours without looking at it once. While friends of mine constantly look even in the middle of a conversation. I don't really understand it. Where does that need come from, to look every second if you got a reply? Why do we have to reply instantly?
    These questions got me thinking. Maybe it'll get you thinking too :) Because why do we keep looking? Do we look for attention? Confirmation people remember us?
    It took me months to get my boyfriend to stop checking his phone while we were at dinner. So frustrating.

  9. Yes im addicted !
    And seriously the few days Im not do do make the difference.
    Im working on myself to stop checking my emails every 2secs because its tiring and this is a huge waste of time, I could do so much more beside.



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