I don’t know when I turned into THAT person. The person who has their phone in their hand at all times – at the dinner table, at a movie, in meetings, at Brewers games, in church (don’t judge). I can’t think of any time during the day that I don’t have my iPhone within eyesight. I didn’t realize my smartphone dependency was so severe until the unthinkable happened. My iPhone was knocked out of my hand while my friend was telling an intense story that required her to swing her arms all over the place, ultimately resulting in my iPhone flying about five feet, head first to its death.
I convinced myself I was fine and decided I would just take it in the next morning, in hopes that the Genius Bar could fix it. No can do. The phone was done-zo. I began to panic a little bit. I had a few weeks until the iPhone 4S was going to be released and I could totally live without my smart phone until then, right? WRONG. Here I was, stuck with this old school 2009 slider phone. Yes, 2009 is old school. This began what felt like the roughest three weeks of my life. The silly thing didn’t even have apps! How was I supposed to check my email at every moment in the day? Or play Words with Friends? Or check-in on Foursquare? Or stalk my Facebook newsfeed? How would I survive the gym without my Pandora app?! Not to mention I’m not the best when it comes to sense of direction; how would I get anywhere unfamiliar without my Maps app? And when I set my morning alarm on the slider phone, there was no “snooze” option that my iPhone gives me! I did not realize how much I depended on my phone and how it was very much part of my every day routine. It got me thinking – am I addicted to my smartphone?
According to a blog I read on Socialnomics.com, experts note that the following signs would classify me as a smartphone “addict.”
- You check your phone constantly, not necessarily just for missed calls, but text messages, status updates, e-mails, push notifications, etc … Yep, that’s me. Who doesn’t?!
- Second, your checking becomes so frequent you develop “checking habits” or the urgency to update or check certain applications such as Facebook, but within 10 minutes of each other. Most “checks” don’t last more than 30 seconds, but it’s the constant glancing down at your phone screen that classifies under this behavior … Um, I don’t know if I do this every 10 minutes, maybe every 15.
- Third, you can’t roam around your house or office without having your phone with an arm’s reach … Well obviously, I don’t want to miss something important!
- Another sign of possible addiction is not being able to leave home without your phone. Some people describe it as “being lost” without their phones … This would ruin my day.
Okay, according to these signs, I had major smartphone dependency issues. Maybe the death of my iPhone came at a good time. It gave me the opportunity to realize how ridiculous I was being and within a week I got over using the older phone. I just had to remind myself that I was lucky to have a phone that worked. Don’t get me wrong, I still woke up at 3:00am to pre-order the iPhone 4S on October 7th and was back in the iPhone game on the 14th, but I was now more aware of my constant usage and tried to tone it down a bit. I can’t say that my habits have changed much, but I no longer have my phone in my hand at all times. That may just come out of fear of having it knocked out of my hand again, but it’s a step in the right direction.