- There are exactly 5.13 billion people in the world who own
mobile devices. That is 66.5% of the world’s population.
- 56% of children aged between eight and 12 have a cell phone. It
becomes even more fascinating to know that 21% of kids who
are eight or younger use a smartphone.
- Statistics also predict that we might already expect to breach the
7 billion mark in a year from now.
- 98% of Generation Z own a smartphone.
Our New Fascinating Invader:
The dark truth is that it is hard to find anyone and certainly
anything more interesting than a smartphone. We love these devices
and would never want us to give them up, but we are all probably also
gently aware that these delightful gadgets bear a hidden cost.
Real Threat Or Valuable Asset:
To say that we are addicted to our phone is not merely to point
that we use them a lot. It signals a darker notion: that we use them to
keep ourselves at bay. Because of our phones, we may find ourselves
incapable of sitting alone in a room with our own thoughts floating
freely in our own heads, daring to wander into the past and future,
allowing ourselves to feel pain, desire, regret, and excitement. We are
addicted to our phones not because we rely on them, but to the extent
that we recruit them to a harmful project of self-avoidance. They do
not mean to hurt us. But we may and probably do use them to injure
Addiction sounds horrible. However, it is a hard name for a
normal inclination: a habit of running away from the joys and terrors
of self-knowledge. We can look up so much on our phones. We can
check up the population of Lima (8.473 million), who won the ladies
final at Wimbledon in 1997 (Martina Hingis), the definition of
‘tautology’ (saying the same thing twice though in different ways) or
perhaps the author of that fascinating quote “what you survive makes
you stronger” (Nietzsche). Yet, this constant resource has an
unwitting, unfortunate side-effect.
A Heavy Burden :
We consult our phones, rather than ourselves. It is not the fact
we actually know so many obscure facts. But we already possess in
scattered, unpolished forms, the raw material from which a huge
number of the very best insights and ideas could be formed if we only
gave them enough time and attention. Almost since the beginning of
time, we have prized the opportunity to get away from reminders of
humanity and to immerse ourselves in nature. We have wanted to gaze
on the grey indifference of the ocean or the bright, incalculable,
immensity of the starry sky. But our phones are the enemies of such
experiences. We may be on the edge of the Grand Canyon, and they
are beeping in our back pockets.
Time To Act:
We constantly use our phones to keep track of our appointments.
But if we stop and think about it. We are quite constrained around the
things to which we choose to be alerted. There is the automated
reminder of the session with the dentist, the alert to jog our memories
that it is our parents’ anniversary or the text message to let us know
that we are due to play a tennis match on Sunday afternoon. But there
are other appointments that are very different, we need to keep in
mind. We need reminders to keep appointments with ourselves. We
need to spend time with our own worries, to understand them rather
than just suffer the anxiety they create.
To Be Or Not To Be:
Our phones seem amazingly sophisticated. They are small
miracles of compressed, practical science, working hand in hand with
advanced capitalism. We think so highly of them only because we
compare them to the past, rather than to the possibilities of the future.
They are so much more advanced than any device we could possess
twenty or forty years ago. Yet they are almost unbearably primitive, in
comparison with what idea the long future will bring. We are so far
from inventing the technology we really require for us to flourish.