Call me, beep me: Cell phone addiction

Illustration+by+LaQuann+Davis

Illustration by LaQuann Davis

Lindsay Miller

Freshman fashion merchandising major Fiona Greller spends an average of six hours a day on her iPhone 5s. These six hours do not include her time spent on her computer and tablet.

“I am addicted to my phone,” Greller said. “I use it for practically everything, which is actually pretty sad since it’s only a small electronic, but it has such a large impact on my life.”

Technology is one of the defining characteristics of this generation. New phone advancements, tablet abilities and computer upgrades are released every month. With the advances in technology, people are able to use it for almost everything and are seen engaging with their devices at all times.

“I use my phone mostly to go on social media sites such as Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and Tinder,” Greller said. “I also use it to keep in touch with friends and family and make plans for that day or night with them. I also use it to check my email, send emails, check class grades, as well as get in touch with my boss and fellow employees from work. I even use it to check my bank account balances and play games during downtime. I don’t think there is one aspect of my life where I don’t use my phone.”

According to a study conducted by the security app “Lookout,” nearly 60 percent of U.S. smartphone users check their phones at least once every hour. The study also shows that 73 percent of people said they would feel panicked if they lost their smartphone.

Freshman exploratory major, Megan Predojev, said she considers herself addicted to her phone and also spends six hours a day on it but does not have social media.

“I don’t have any social media sites, so that is why I’m not saying the obvious like Twitter, Instagram or Tinder,” Predojev said. “I use my phone to contact my work and check my schedule. I also use it to be able to keep updated with school and upcoming events and, of course, I use it to stay in contact with friends.”

Robert Walker, director of Kent State’s School of Digital Science, said he does not consider students addicted to their phones but does recognize the dependence on them.

“I think we use [phones] quite a bit for very valid reasons and you’ve always got them with you,” Walker said. “This is the most common item and easiest item to get to, so yes, I think we are using these things more and more and more for a variety of reasons: for entertainment as well as communication and information. I think we are becoming more and more dependent on them because we are used to that connection.”

Walker said the technological advancement in phones is a positive thing.

“We’ve got tremendous access to communication in a variety of different forms, more than we’ve ever had before,” Walker said. “The device gives you access to information so if you’ve got a disagreement about something, you can Google it right there. You’ve got information at your fingertips that you didn’t have before. It’s not just a toy; it’s information, it’s communication. You’re more connected to everyone and everything than you’ve ever been before.”

Walker said when a group of people are sitting around a table on their phones instead of interacting with one another it may be a negative effect, but sees the positive effect as greater.

“Maybe you’re keeping in touch with relatives from far away, you actually are involved in their lives from further away,” Walker said. “So in that sense, your global network and interaction with people is greater.“

Greller said she sees technological advancement as having both a positive and negative affect on students.

“The advancements in technology are amazing and when used correctly are very helpful, but because not only students are becoming hooked on these electronics but also adults in the business world, it becomes a distraction and can also be looked at as debilitating the human race,”Greller said. “The ability to quickly look something up on one’s phone stops them from actually learning and remembering information and instead of becoming more intelligent, they start to regress and use these conveniences as a crutch.“

Greller said on the positive side, there is a greater source of knowledge presented on smartphones than available from a single person or one book.

“The most obscure facts can be found at the push of a button in a matter of seconds and that’s an amazing feat,” Greller said. “If, not only students, but humans in general, started to actually learn from the information they get from a phone or computer and put it to use around them, they will benefit from the uses of these items and can even help to advance the production of such items.”

Technological advancements in smartphones have changed the way people use their phones. Phones were only used for phone calls before texting was introduced and now, users can check email, deposit checks, write papers, take photographs, identify songs, play games and much more.

Non-smartphones have become a thing of the past.

Predojev said if she had to go back to a non-smartphone it would present some problems.

“I used to say that I could go back to a regular phone, but now that I’ve had an iPhone for a long time I think it would be really hard,” Predojev said. “iPhones make things so much easier. You have a GPS, you have certain apps that have to do with school that keep you updated, you can meet new people with apps, you can talk to people through FaceTime off your phone, use the internet and more.”

Greller also said switching back to a basic phone would be an issue for her.

“This phone is so versatile,” Greller said. “I have become so used to being able to do so much at the palm of my hand that reverting back to a simpler phone would be unimaginable to me.”

Greller said she recognizes she uses her phone too much but hasn’t consciously make an effort to change her habits.

“Nothing on my phone is so important that I should spend as much time on it as I do,” Greller said. “It’s just a fun distraction that becomes a habit to check on or update. I want to make an effort to use my phone less. All though that may be difficult, it will benefit myself and those I associate with in the long run.”

To find out if you are addicted to your smartphone, check out Huffington Post’s “17 Signs You’re Actually In A Serious Relationship… With Your Smartphone.” 

Contact Lindsay Miller at [email protected]