A recent Ofcom study showed that more people than ever are using Smartphones, which are phones which have advanced features such as internet browsers, apps, email and instant messaging capabilities.
The report found that the most visited mobile site was Facebook, showing that Smartphone use is moving away from its origins in the world of business, when phones were primarily used to check emails outside of offices, and into the social realm, whereby smartphone features are used for personal use, such as social networking.
What became apparent alongside this is that people are beginning to become more and more addicted to their Blackberries and iPhones.
I enquired with some of my friends about this, perhaps underestimating the power of the smartphone and the capacity for people to be unable to live without one.
My friend Vicky told me, “I cannot put mine down… I literally check Facebook like every 5 mins, hate the fact that I can no longer get my emails on it due to replacement which drives me up the wall!!”
My friend Sam also had a similar response, “I’m a HTC addict, a phone has been like an extra limb since I was 16! Always using FB or Twitter, watching videos on YouTube, surfing the net or playing with apps! It’s a bit sad really!”
Perhaps though Sam and Vicky, who obviously enjoy smartphone use, aren’t quite as addicted as my next few examples will show.
A few times lately I’ve been into places like Pizza Express with my partner and seen teenage couples waiting for their orders sat in silence glued to their Blackberries. I’m starting to think romance is dead!
Similarly, in the cinema I often get distracted by a blue light below, when someone can’t stop texting even through a film. It makes me wonder why they’ve bothered spending money on a ticket, even if it is Orange Wednesday!
But my question is, when we are being ‘social’ on our phones, are we being antisocial with the people around us?
The Ofcom report states that more and more people are using their phones at the dinner table, in the bathroom and are even taking them up to bed.
But are they being antisocial with the people around them for the sake of being sociable in cyberspace? Is it more important to be socially available with the people who you live with rather than sociable with your 300 Facebook friends/acquaintances/people you’ve only met once?
I’m not so sure smartphone addiction is a positive step for society, when in extreme circumstances, like the man in the cinema and the young couple in Pizza Express, it stops you from enjoying the here and now.