Are you a cell phone addict? How would you know? What separates cell phone addicts from normal cell phone users. Let’s start with the cell phone addict. The cell phone addicts, hunched over their cell phone punching furiously on the keys, are oblivious to the world around them or the person sitting across from them. There’s always one more email to send or text to read, one more game to play, one more TikTok video to watch, one more score to check on ESPN. They say things like, “Hey I wonder if anyone new has ‘friended’ me on my Facebook account? What are others saying about me? I think I’ll send a photo of what I ate for breakfast to my followers.” Cell phone addicts are typically on their phones 6-8 hours per day and, just like any addict, they go through withdrawal when their phone is missing. They panic and search frantically for it, trying desperately to remember where they might have put it down.
Normal cell phone users have a different relationship with their phones. They aren’t addicted to them. They view their phones as tools to help them communicate with others. That’s it! Phones were invented to help us communicate with others when we couldn’t be face-to-face.
A bit of background on the telephone and then I’ll wrap up this diatribe. The telephone, which gave rise to the modern cell phone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell with his partner, Thomas Watson. Here’s what the History.com website says about Bell:
On March 7, 1876, Bell was granted his telephone patent. A few days later, he made the first-ever telephone call to Watson, allegedly uttering the now-famous phrase, “Mr. Watson, come here. I want you.” By 1877, the Bell Telephone Company, which today is known as AT&T, was created. In 1915, Bell made the first transcontinental phone call to Watson from New York to San Francisco.
Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone because both his wife and mother were deaf and he wanted to invent a device to help them communicate. My how it has evolved!
The technology of cell phones has changed communication but not necessarily for the better. Cell phones have many advantages but also some glaring disadvantages. They can be harmful to relationships and in-depth, face-to-face communication. So, are you a cell phone addict? Here are three penetrating questions to ask yourself:
a. Do you pay more attention to your cell phone than your partner or children during meals?
b. Do you find yourself on your cell phone while walking, eating, driving a car (yikes!), during work meetings, playing with your kids?
c. Does the prospect of not having your cell phone cause your heart to race and make you sweat?
How’d you do? If you honestly answered positively to any or all three questions you have a problem. In all likelihood your cell phone has become your master and you are its slave.
Don’t laugh it off. This is serious. All addictions are.