One of the first few articles I ever wrote for PhoneDog was an article where I openly talked about the bad habits I had developed over the years of using cell phones. At some point, my cell phone went from a luxury to a necessity, even getting to the point where I would have some type of anxiety attack if I didn’t have my phone with me. I was also rather rude to people in my actual presence when it came to answering phone calls and text messages, often putting whatever was going on in my phone over whatever face-to-face conversation I might have been having. I can’t explain why, it’s just what seemed to make sense in my head at the time.
I could chalk it up to being young. I was 21 at the time I wrote that article, and I’m on my way to being 24 now. It’s not like decades have passed and I am now a wise elderly woman who sees the error in her ways. It was becoming a real problem, and I realized at the time that I depended way too much on technology to get me through the day. The concept of cell phones are still very recent, and a vast majority of adults on this planet can probably remember a time when such a handy form of communication wasn’t even available; it was pay phone or bust, buddy. So then why was it so important for me to need to be connected all the time?
I never did find out the real answer to that question. I think a big part of it is that I’m a natural worrier, and generally assume the worst of most situations. I knew that the one day I went without a cell phone, some extremely important phone call would come in and I wouldn’t be there to answer it. The chances of that actually happening, of course, were slim to none. I also had this incessant need to answer a text message as soon as it came through, even though the whole reason text messages even exist is so that, you know, you can answer them whenever it’s convenient for you. Which means you don’t have to answer right away, and the world won’t end if you don’t. (But the unnofficial text messaging rules says that if somebody doesn’t answer within a half an hour, they probably hate you.)
The one area where my phone addiction didn’t touch, and probably my one saving grace, is texting or talking on the phone while driving. This might be where my worrying actually comes in handy, because I just know the one time I try to answer with a quick “K”, “yea”, or something equally as unimportant I will end up dead. My phone remains untouched while driving, and it always will.
The days of being obsessed with my phone are gone. I’m not sure how or when it happened, but between that article and now I hardly have the same feelings about my phone. Half the time I don’t even know where it is, and it miraculously turns up when I need it. I don’t immediately feel the need to read or answer a text once I feel the buzz, and often will forget that it even came through. The only time I really take the time to look is when I have a phone call, because those are rare and usually important when they happen. I don’t compulsively look at Facebook every ten minutes to see the new statuses people have posted anymore. Overall, I’m very pleased with my phone use these days. I still love phones and the way they work as much as ever, but when it comes to how often I use them it’s a different story.
There was a lot of feedback when I wrote that article in 2012 from people saying that they felt they (or somebody they knew) were addicted to their phones as well. With it coming up on two years since that article was written, I’m interested in seeing how others are doing today. Has your addiction grown, stayed the same, or have things changed for you since then? Let us know in the comments below!