Over the past several months I have become increasingly aware, and somewhat frightened, of how obsessed people are with their smartphones. I remember when television was the newest technology – and, in those days, there were only a few channels compared to the hundreds of options we have today. So too, do I recall the days of rotary phones and then the initial cell phone which felt like it weighed 50 pounds and came in a rather large bag.
Today our phones are, in actuality, miniature portable computers. We make calls, text, use email, make purchases, get directions, do banking, and so much more. According to a March 2012 report from Pew Internet, 46 percent of adult Americans own a smartphone, an 11 percent increase over just one year ago. Honestly, watching people at the office, in the airport and just out and about, I thought the number would be even higher as it seems like everywhere I look, I see someone on a smartphone.
While I don’t question the value of a smartphone, I do question the obsession with it. I love that my iPhone affords me additional flexibility when I am out of the office or away from my house, but even I am realizing that I have become more dependent on it. A friend recently told me about a survey that said that the average smartphone owner is within three feet of their phone over 95 percent of the time, a scary realization, but one that definitely resonates.
Even more alarming is the connectedness that it has led to for professionals. A recent survey from Prosper Mobile Insights noted 78.8 percent of smartphone and tablet owners not only vacationed with their devices, but also used them ‘all the time’ while away. A must have today, smartphones do provide a convenience, but at what expense. Many Americans are already challenged with maintaining a work-life balance, are these technologies just making it worse? Please weigh-in on this topic by posting a comment.