The obsession people have for their smartphones has grown more out of control over the past few years as social networking applications, such as Twitter and Facebook, and game apps have contributed to people’s addictions.
It’s so bad for some people that they are sent into a panic if they are separated from their phones for even a few minutes.
“The Growing Addiction”
Giselle Burgos, 23, of Brooklyn, is obsessed.
She sleeps next to her iPhone and admits waking up during the night to check her messages and FACEBOOK notifications. In the morning even before brushing her teeth, she is talking and texting.
And if the phone goes missing as has happened on occasion?
“It had only been five minutes of me misplacing my phone and I was already freaking out,” she said.
Burgos is among a growing number of people who are so focused on following their emails, texts and Facebook pages on their smartphones that their attachment to the devices is reaching the level of addiction. Of the people interviewed for this article, most said they felt stressed or cut off from the world if they misplaced or forgot their iPhones. They all said separation from their smartphones caused a sense of not feeling complete and anxiety.
Jah-Milka McClean, 22, said not being able to update her status on Facebook is what drives her crazy. She said she prefers to have her phone by her side at all times.
“I have lost my iPhone and it was very frustrating process,” she said. In the days that she was without an iPhone, she had to resort to a basic phone that did not have features such as a camera or advanced texting. The keypad had the three letter count which made it difficult for her to text and respond to emails, she said.
The increased dependence on smartphones has evolved as the selection of apps has expanded. Now consumers don’t need iPods, cameras, maps, and address books because all of that information is stored in their phones. Companies have created applications that do everything from tracking heart rates to guiding people through the streets of New York City.
Recently Apple released the iPhone 4S, which includes a voice controlled virtual assistant Siri, which is Apple’s most creative advancement to date. Apple’s advancements to the new generation of iPhones will only continue to increase and consumers will continue to crave more.
Social networking applications, such as Twitter and Facebook and game apps, have added to people’s addiction to their iPhones. People even use their phone for daily tasks such as mobile banking and online shopping. A recent high school graduate from Long Island did some interesting research. Michelle Hackman won a $75,000 prize in this year’s Intel Science Talent Search with research that investigated teens’ attachment to their smartphones. She found when they were separated from their phones, they were under-stimulated. The indicators showed they had a low heart rate and the inability to entertain themselves.
Continuously more people are becoming addicted, however if it is not controlled it may begin to have a negative impact on society and the ways it integrates itself. The iPhone was released in 2007 and ever since has been the most talked about smartphone consumer products ever. The frenzy and the thought of people interacting only with their iPhone instead of human beings possibly can become a troubling issue in America. However the question is can the addiction be controlled or will the new advancements, and the creation of the next generation of iPhones increase consumer’s addiction? Being addicted to smartphones can lead to a decrease of the ability to focus deeply, think creatively and productively. Being fixated on checking text messages, playing games, checking emails can make an individual not want to engage in real life activities and can lead to real consequences in the future.
According to New York Magazine, a survey of 200 Stanford University students revealed that iPhone addictions are real. In fact many of the students were referring to the iPhone as their “little friend,” Professor Tanya Luhrmann, who conducted the study stated. “People worried about being addicted and creating an ‘iPhone widow,” she was quoted as saying. Students have become so attached to their phone that their addiction can be compared to a person being addicted to a drug. “When asked to rank their dependence on the iPhone, 10 percent of the students acknowledged full addiction to the device, 34 percent ranked themselves as a four on the scale, and only 6 percent said they weren’t addicted at all,” according to the article.
Applications and additional features that are provided by the iPhone definitely can change a person’s lifestyle. The different applications that have become available make it impossible for people to survive without their phone. Andre Johnson, 24, stated, “One word to describe my phone would be my assistant”. Johnsons’ iPhone knows more about him than his own family and friends. He even sleeps next to his phone and wakes up just to check his messages and notifications.
“The different applications on the iPhone allow people choices, there are apps that best fit an individual’s needs and personality, which make the iPhone so unique,” he said.