Are you addicted to your phone?
How often do you check your phone? According to a study led by Nottingham Trent University in Britain, the average person looks at their device 85 times a day, browsing the internet or using apps. Updating their status on social media platforms also made people reach for their electronic companion frequently.
Even the study's participants thought that was a lot: this figure is twice as often as they thought they did. Our phones might be shaping our behaviour more than we realise, and changing the way we interact with people right next to us. Do you actually look at your surroundings more than at your phone? Is it rude to check your phone when someone is talking to you?
Sherry Turkle interviewed hundreds of college students about this. She's a clinical psychologist and a professor of social studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. They talked about something they called 'the rule of three'.
The rule has to do with being considerate to others in spite of the allure of the little flat box. Turkle explains: "If you go to dinner with friends, you don't want to look down at your phone until you see that three people are looking up in the conversation. So there's a new etiquette where you don't look down unless three people are looking up in order to keep a little conversation alive."
Actually, if you are clever enough you might use your phone as a tool to connect with people next to you. How about showing them pictures stored in its memory? Sharing a bit of your life with them can bring you closer together. And you can also invite everyone to take a selfie with you.
But the best thing to deal with mobile phone addiction is to go cold turkey and leave the machine behind occasionally or just switch it off and keep it firmly in your pocket for a while. Who knows... 'life' might be what happens when you are too busy staring at a small screen.
to update (their) status
social media platform
to go cold turkey