Forget fast food, video games and reality TV. The worst plague sweeping the world these days is smartphone addiction. You’ve seen the worst affected skittering in alleyways, awake in bed at night, and in movie theaters, with the glow of backlit LCDs lighting up their maniacal faces. They’re addicts. Any you may be one of them.
Think you it may be more than a slight affinity for texting? Here are the top ten signs you’re addicted to your smartphone.
(And we’re all a little guilty.)
It started out with something harmless like a car charger, but then you stepped up to the car FM transmitter, armband, a different case for each day of the week, spare batteries, screen protectors, a stereo Bluetooth adapter, wireless speakerphone, and even a dock powered by tube amps. You realize that it’s just a phone, not a kid, right? And that none of it will work when you inevitably upgrade to the next version six months from now?
We’ve all gone through app-installing binges where we’ve installed some questionable stuff on our cell phones. Two weeks later, we either figure out it’s garbage and delete it, or leave it to stagnate. But those of you still checking on your digital iPhorest trees, using car locater to find your Camry down the block every morning, and thumbing through digital copies of the U.S. Constitution during heated political debates are the real nuts.
Business meetings, doctor’s appointments, and group meetups. All valid events to put in your phone. Have an alarm for putting out the trash on Wednesday night? You’re in way too deep, buddy. When you need your phone to prod you through every step of the day, it might as well be your respirator or dialysis machine.
Not content to dream about your phone, fondle it in your pocket all day long, and relish every chance to use it, you actually invest time in finding out more about it, while using it. You read through the latest TUAW posts on your iPhone, or threads on the Crackberry forums from your Bold. Your phone is no longer a means to an end, it is the end.
OK, lunch is pretty important. But $5 a day adds up to like $150 a month, and that can totally pay your phone bill if you just switch to Jell-O and ramen noodles for a while. Or maybe you could just start hopping the turnstile instead of paying for a subway pass. Or move to a cheaper apartment. Or carry a balance on that credit card…
Does this logic sound familiar?
After brushing your teeth and washing your face, your last ritual before bed is plugging in that smartphone. Because if you don’t, there’s no way that sucker’s lasting another full day after the workout you gave it today. We’ll admit that the battery life on some modern smartphones is pretty dismal, but if you’re downing a full charge day after day, you might need to lay off the juice.
In a moment of clumsiness, you went to remove it from your pocket for the 37th time in the last hour, slipped, and sent it pinwheeling toward pavement, where it landed with a sickening crack. Or, in a moment of carelessness, you let it slip out of your pocket on the train, waiting to be snatched up by some hawkeyed bum. Even worse, in a less-than-sober moment, you dropped it into a fountain (which is not a urinal, by the way). Whatever the circumstances, you can’t stop replaying the event in your mind, running over its irreplaceable digital contents in your mind, and kicking yourself for letting it happen. Maybe you even have dreams about a reunion with your long-lost friend. Er, phone. When the symptoms start to border post-traumatic stress disorder, it’s time to move on.
“You have an iPhone too? Oh awesome, have you tried the PDXBus app yet? Yea, this case is pretty cool, but I’m getting this metallic one soon that’s even slimmer.”
If this sounds at all like a conversation you might have upon meeting someone with the same smartphone, you should reconsider your smartphone addiction and your social life.
2. You feel a brief moment of panic when you touch your pocket (or grope to the bottom of your purse) and it’s gone.
We’re not talking about a lost phone here, just realizing you left it at home. And feeling the skipped heartbeat of sheer terror.
“What if people try to call me?”
“What if I can’t find the nearest Starbucks without asking someone?”
“What will my Twitter followers think?”
Take a deep breath before you need an iDefibrillator app and forge on without your faithful digital assistant. Life will be OK.
This is just wrong. But not for hygienic reasons as you all suspect. If you’re using your smartphone on the can, you’ve just robbed yourself of your last refuge from interruption. You’ve tainted mankind’s last fortress of solitude by draggeing the entire equivalent of a computer into the equation. Can’t you live five minutes without e-mail? Really?