Smartphone, iPhone And BlackBerry Addiction ~ Contributors To ADD Like Symptoms
All I Have To Say About This Is "Really?"
People Today are Very Focused on Phones and Technology
It seems everywhere you go these days, people have their heads down and are tapping or scrolling on their smartphones. Whether it is an IPhone, BlackBerry, Android, or other phone, it seems to take away an awful lot of people's attention.
Recently, we were at a concert, and these days, concert tickets are NOT cheap. My husband and I both were very surprised at the number of people in attendance that were looking DOWN at bright little screens, rather than up at the performer. It seemed that some people were constantly looking at their phones and tapping away.
Whether they felt that they had to be in contact with someone constantly via smartphone, and could not go for the length of time that the concert lasted without looking at their phone (which was only about 1 1/2 hours) - we weren't sure. Whether they were texting or updating Facebook statuses, what in the world was so important that it couldn't wait an hour?
And what struck us as strange is, people seem to be so busy constantly telling others what they are doing at that very moment, they are forgetting to live in that moment!
What good does it do to pay the kind of money you pay to go SEE a concert, if you're not even going to pay attention to the show? it used to be that people would watch and pay attention to the person or band on the stage singing, dancing, performing their hearts out.
It seems that people no longer stop to smell the roses, instead, they feel they have to snap a picture of them to put on Facebook right that minute, so thousands of others can "share" in that moment.
All they are achieving, though, is making a contribution to the trend of information overload that is out there on the Internet. People have a constant barrage of information coming at them these days, and I feel that we're losing our ability to concentrate on anything that requires concentration and focus.
Losing The Important Skill of Conversation
People have lost the ability to truly listen to and interact with people, because they are constantly ON these electronic devices. It seems like a lot of people are incapable of carrying on a conversation because of these devices.
Are we raising a generation that will never be able to hold a true face to face conversation with another human being because they are so busy staring at the little flickering box?
And another question that I have is WHY in the WORLD would anyone be on a smartphone while they're using the bathroom?? I used to hear this at work all of the time. People around them are flushing away, little kids are announcing what they just DID in the potty, and people are STILL on their phone while using the facilities.
And probably worse than that are the college age kids who are walking all over a college campus with their heads down, not paying attention. Where we used to live, we were near a college campus and you would see this all the time. Kids walking with heads down, staring at this little electronic device, and crossing the street at the same time. It seems like they're increasing their chances significantly of being hit by a vehicle, and then what would they do? Send an "LOL" out to someone??
A lot of states now have banned text messaging while driving, which I think is absolutely the right thing to do. I know for a fact, though, that even though people are not supposed to do it, they ignore the law and do it anyway.
Here in Nevada, they have just recently banned the use of cell phones while driving, unless you have a "blue-tooth" headset and can use it hands-free. Just by listening to radio stations when they have "call in and win" contests, they get people all the time who admit to being on their cell phone while driving. And the radio announcer usually just jokes "well, basically, you're breaking the law while you're on the phone with me."
I've seen statistics recently that estimate that as many as 60% of teenagers are 37% of adults are actually addicted to their smartphones. These numbers are staggering! And what is scary is that these numbers may actually be even higher. And what they are using the phones for the most are the social networking sites like Facebook and twitter. These sites are used four times more than Google or any other internet site.
As a result, doctors are even seeing more patients complaining of neck and shoulder pain, as well as finger and thumb pain, which can eventually lead to arthritis. The neck muscles are constantly being flexed "hyper-flexed" by looking down at a device so much, and tendons are being damaged, as well as the tendons in wrists.
All of this combined is causing a generation of people who cannot seem to focus on a task for any length of time, due to the constant interruption these phones are causing. My husband has even said that guys at work will be on these while they are in a meeting! He'll be paying attention to what is being said, and the guy next to him will ask "What? What did he just say?"
Now I know that true ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) is more of a brain chemical disorder. But the symptoms of the addiction to smartphones seem to be similar. Problems focusing on tasks, irritability if one is denied the use of their phone for any length of time, problems relating to and carrying on conversations with other people. And just a general disengaged demeanor from things that are going on in real life.
I can remember being at work, and you were not allowed to have your phone with you while you were working. These young people would practically RUN to their lockers or desks to see what they had missed while they were working, it was an odd habit to watch.. during their breaks and lunch, they would essentially be disconnected from one another - they would sit across from each other at a table, tapping away. And adults I worked with were not immune to this either, some of them were on their smartphone just as much.
Toddlers are Fascinated With Technology as Young as One Year Old!
The strangest thing I found when looking up information for this article was an article titled "Toddler's Favorite Toy: The iPhone" which appeared in the New York Times. The article starts with a toddler just waking up from a nap, hair all tousled, and he smiled and reached out to Daddy and his first word was "iPhone."
It seems that some parents are using the smartphones as a pacifier for their toddlers, as young as one year of age, to keep them quiet long enough so parents can enjoy a trip to the supermarket, or even to keep them quiet in the car.
Childhood development specialists are becoming concerned at this new phenomenon. This seems to be the new toy of choice among the crib generation, even more so than stuffed animals. It seems that once a toddler is allowed to have the iPhone and play on it, it starts to take their attention from other toys and books, and quickly becomes their "toy" of choice.
In this story, one woman tells of giving the iPhone to her toddler to keep him quiet in the car, then dropping him off at daycare and not being able to get the phone away from him! Sometimes a call will come in for her, and she can't even get it away to take the call.
And what's even stranger is that new apps are being developed for the iPhone geared specifically for toddlers, like the 'Igo" potty app for potty training, which includes phone calls to remind toddlers when it is time to go potty. Now my question is, do they still hang onto the phone while they are going potty? Does this behavior stay with them even when they are adults?
Many adults don't even seem to see this as a "problem". Rather, some parents are proud of their little ones ability to slide their fingers across and bring up "apps."
Now some parents actually think that maybe this isn't such a good idea, and the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics says not to allow children to watch television before age two. So, in addition to the television recommendation, the Academy is now looking into "other forms of screen time" as well. For the time being, however, their recommendation is the same as for television watching.
Child behavior specialists are seeing a generation that is not participating in active engagement with others, but rather is staring at a screen. Sounds like the very generation that will grow up to be staring down at their phones for most of their life. This is limiting children's experience of seeing and interacting with the outside world. They are curious and observing things when they are young, and if they are staring at a screen, they are not taking in the rest of the world.
It is recommended that you don't even allow your child to use a smartphone until they are a bit older, and then limit the amount of time they are allowed to spend on it. As it is with a lot of addictive things in this life, the best words of advice are "everything in moderation."