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OUR SMARTPHONE ADDICTION

Posted by Tim Bryce on September 13, 2013

BRYCE ON TECHNOLOGY & SOCIETY

– How early children are being weaned on technology, and how this will affect society.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

It’s no secret, our use of personal technology has turned into an addiction. To me, it is no different than a drug. You may remember the 2010 “The World Unplugged” project whereby 1,000 college students in ten countries on five continents were asked to go without technology for 24 hours. The results of the study revealed the depths of their addiction. Some recent notices though, suggests it is going to get even worse.

A new study by ZACT, a smartphone provider, reveals a quarter of children ages two and under now have a smartphone, as do children ages three to five. As the study reveals, the penetration goes deeper as the child grows older; 39% of children ages 6-9 have a smartphone, 56% for ages 10-13, and 66% for ages 14-17. I might understand older children needing one, but a 25% penetration of the two year old age group is bewildering. And once they get hooked, they are likely addicted forever. Taking it a step further, there is a significant movement afoot in this country to teach computer programming in elementary school, thereby solidifying the addiction. Frankly, I would rather see students taking more classes in speech and English, but I am a creature of the 20th century who understands the importance of building human relations.

Smartphone addiction is also changing our lifestyles. To illustrate, a venture capitalist in San Francisco recently suggested movie theaters should be altered to allow moviegoers to actively use their smartphones as opposed to turning them off; see, “Would you go to a Wi-Fi-connected, lights-on movie theater?” It is his contention that technology savvy people would rather use their smartphones during the performance to reference such things as cast members, credits, rate the movie, and carry on a dialog with other people in the theater regarding the movie, not to mention perform a little work on the side. If this comes to fruition, look for movie producers to capitalize on this by offering a movie that interacts with local smartphones, such as supplying trivia about the movie, giving clues as to how the plot will progress, or maybe allow the patrons to guess “who done it.”

Then there was the story in the “Huffington Post” where a respected professor and education researcher suggests that teaching spelling and grammar should be de-emphasized as smartphones now perform this function using “autocorrect.” One may argue student math skills have slipped thanks in large part to a plethora of available calculators. Now, the same phenomenon may occur to English thanks to our dependency on the smartphone.

Two things are disturbing about these recent reports, how early children are being weaned on technology, and how this will affect society in the long run. The more technology takes over the basic processing functions of our brain, the more we become dependent on it. Do we really need to multitask as we watch a movie? Do children really need to learn technology as opposed to mastering language and socialization skills? It seems to me the human spirit is being programmed and I’m not sure we are going to like the end result.

To understand how programmed you are, try “The World Unplugged” experiment and abstain from using technology for at least 24 hours. If you develop a nagging feeling for checking your smartphone or computer, in medical circles this is commonly referred to as an “addiction.”

For more, information, see: “Is Personal Technology a Drug?”

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

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Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  NARCISSISM ON THE HIGHWAY – The problem is not with our highways, it is the people driving on them.

LAST TIME:  THE MEANING OF “THIS TOWN” (Book Review) – The incestuous relationships existing in Washington, DC.

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14 Responses to “OUR SMARTPHONE ADDICTION”

  1. Tim Bryce said

    An N.K. of Palm Harbor, Florida wrote…

    “Thankfully I have my Smartphone so I can read your interesting articles every day! The first step is admitting you have a problem! Yes, I confess!”

    Like

  2. Tim Bryce said

    An R.L. of Tampa, Florida wrote…

    “Tim, I share your concern about the long-term affects that technology will have (and is having) on societies around the globe. I wonder what sociologists are saying about this.”

    Like

  3. Tim Bryce said

    An A.V. of Oldsmar, Florida wrote…

    “The most coveted item at the airport…a power outlet. The person that comes and saves the day? The one who travels with a power strip in their bag.”

    Like

  4. Tim Bryce said

    A B.H. of Boulder, Colorado wrote…

    “Hey, why should kids have to learn to read? After all, a computer can do that for them, and translate the words into sound…..then we don’t really need schools and teachers at all any more, do we?

    The “respected” professor and educator is a MORON! CLEARLY he does not realize that “autocorrect” is flawed badly, and in many cases “helps you” to say the wrong thing. Back in the late 90’s, the Boulder Valley School District held a district-wide conference on what the schools should “look like” in the year 2000 and beyond. One particular woman (scientist, I’m embarrassed to admit) advocated stopping teaching spelling and grammar to elementary school students and putting a laptop on every desk, because word processing programs had spelling and grammar checkers that made it unnecessary to LEARN those skills. Fortunately, the schools couldn’t afford it at the time, but over years, computers have had an increased presence, and certainly we’re seeing the impact in that they have stopped teaching cursive writing skills in school as being unnecessary. How does a child learn to sign his or her name? Are we retreating to a time from the middle ages when people make a MARK instead of actually signing a name?

    Why don’t we just give up and implant these devices into kids before they learn to talk, then we can teach them to communicate without actually talking – oh, and take the first steps to becoming a “Borg” (Roddenberry and Star Trek WERE really visionaries, I guess).”

    Like

  5. Tim Bryce said

    A C.M. of Atlanta, Georgia wrote…

    “To remove these “gadgets” from most peoples hands resembles that of pulling a plug out of a balloon. The results are usually the same…”

    Like

  6. Tim Bryce said

    A J.S. of Skidway Lake, Michigan wrote…

    “I am shocked that young children have phones! Why do they need them? I can see teens using them to call for a ride or keep in touch, but little kids?”

    Like

  7. sirchristiantheheck@reagan.com said

    I hate to say this ,but that fact is too damn true and accurate. Shame on us for allowing this to happen.

    Like

  8. Carol said

    Enjoyed your article. I shudder to think where technology/”smart” phones will drag children in ten years. What I dislike about all this technology, especially smart phones (if they are so smart, why are they so difficult for me to unravel? Oh, b/c I am a “senior?” Nooooo! Say it isn’t so!) The idea of having lighted theaters so one can interact while watching is ridiculous, to say the least, IMHO. Is nothing sacred? I dislike how media tries to convince us we must have a smart phone or else we are not…smart. We who still use a perfectly functional flip-phone may feel a sense of being “old fashioned,” out of touch…etc. Part of the problem with cell addiction is first, the younger gen didn’t have “just” a landline, much less one without call waiting, etc. Surely you jest there are two year olds with cell phones? So much for using the imagination! I’ve been in waiting rooms where children had nothing to do so they would create something with even just a piece of paper, a magazine, etc. Give them a big, empty box and they have a ball! Children should be allowed to be children! Lots of bullying goes on via cell phones, too, as we all know. Parents are of course to blame for allowing children to have cells but the kids nag their parents relentlessly. Parents use the rationale: the children can now contact me and I, them. What did we do when there were no cells? Right…the kids used the school phone in office or GASP! the parents drove to the school or home where a child may be visiting.

    Like

  9. Ron said

    I personally am not against technology brother. An Infantry soldier is taught to use a grid map and a compass; however has a GPS on his phone or watch. The fact is..Which is more accurate? Now let’s talk about a precise round from a 105 mm two miles away. Technology has made our lives easier and has made us a lot smarter with more knowledge at our finger tips. I do agree one’s social skills within society will decrease, but so will the entire generation. lol

    Like

  10. […] OUR SMARTPHONE ADDICTION […]

    Like

  11. Tim Bryce said

    A K.S. of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma wrote…

    “Tim, I have to admit that I have been in many, many meetings where top management seems to be indulging in this same addiction before, during & after key meetings!”

    Like

  12. […] Our Smartphone Addiction – Sep 13, 2013 […]

    Like

  13. […] – April 23, 2014 “Let’s Sit Down and Talk” – March 5, 2014 “Our Smartphone Addiction” – September 13, 2013 “How Technology Affects Our Youth” – December 4, 2011 […]

    Like

  14. […] Personal Technology a Drug?” “Our Smartphone Addiction” “More Evidence of Technology Addiction” “Bed Bugs & Our Changing […]

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