Can You Escape From Your Smartphone?

Escaping from your smartphone is almost impossible as its addictive design trumps our ability to resist. But there is growing anxiety that we’re losing control as the time spent staring at screens escalates.

Living in the moment

A transformation in how we spend our time is taking place as our capacity to enjoy uninterrupted moments with family and friends is threatened. Technology, perhaps for the first time, has reached a point where it is damaging traditional modes of interaction between people as screen time steals from quality time with others. Checking the phone last thing at night, first thing in the morning, and endlessly during the day is now normal for millions of us, as we ignore the effects on stress levels and sleep cycles. Technology is always a catalyst for change but the smartphone raises concerns about our shifting patterns of behaviour.

Technology’s mission – which is to capture our attention – competes with the need for everyone to build close and long lasting relationships. Nevertheless, we spend too much time enthralled by the smartphone even though it takes away from other activities. The internet, smartphones, browsing and online shopping absorb enormous amounts of energy from people of all ages. Even with an awareness of the dangers the time we spend on screen is climbing, as the draw of the smartphone hides its disturbing side effects. The list of online distractions is expanding too as we chat, connect, date, email, follow, Google, surf, like, stream, shop, swipe, share, text, Tweet, What’s App, and gamble on screens that fit snugly in our hands. Such pursuits don’t include time given to Facebook, iTunes, Instagram, LinkeIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, Spotify or countless other apps and platforms. The process is made more tempting by the look and feel and user friendliness of technology. It is also made easier by the convenience of the smartphone as it enables us to instantly check our every fad and fancy.

There is, however, a glimmer of hope as the concept of having an occasional digital detox break gains in popularity amongst those who are distraught and discouraged. But the results are modest and perhaps too little and too late to save us from addiction. There is however a growing realisation that the smartphone is not the innocent technology of only a decade ago, as it causes turmoil in the lives of young and old. In the future, it is difficult to see how any semblance of balance can be reached as usage spreads throughout the entire population. The smartphone, however, is here to stay and will keep distracting us from what we want to do. We must therefore learn to live with its intrusions in a way that allows us to protect time for those close to us.

So, the smartphone is offered as a user-friendly technology but its addictive nature harms relationships and disrupts the lives of people of all ages.