As “worldwide, more than two billion people own smartphones”(Campbell, A 2018) the risk to become addicted to our devices has never been greater. With technology continually updating and replacing the way in which we once conducted our lives, it is easy to forget just how much time we really are spending on our devices.
I wake up in the morning and the first thing I turn to is my phone. As soon as I even unlock it, there are usually a series of notifications that lure me in to view more. With the world turning to social media for communication with one another, I open up and scroll through an array of apps.
Each platform vying for my attention as it constantly updates to try and keep me amused. Hours go by and I don’t even realise how much time I’m actually wasting. I tell myself that I’m going to cut back and that I’m going to detox myself from my devices. But I don’t. Although I know the hold that technology has on me, why do I keep going back for more?
“Technology is designed to utilise the basic human need to feel a sense of belonging and connection with others” (Ali, Arden-Close & McAlaney 2018). I tend to use my networked devices for this very reason, to connect with others through social media. Social media has become second nature to me, my phone is usually beside me and if my attention isn’t being directed somewhere else, I tend to open it up multiple times a day without even realising how often I am doing it.
The other day I caught myself without technology for no longer than 5 minutes. I was walking to my car after a tutorial and my phone had died. I knew I could charge it when I got to my car, but there was something subconsciously notifying me that I didn’t have anything to look at. I started to look around me and reflected on just how much I’m using networked media and how much of a reliance I have on it, even if it is only 5 minutes without it. I got to my car and plugged it straight in, turning on a podcast as I forgot what I had only just reflected on.
A journal article by Hermann Bausinger, ‘Media, technology and daily life’, describes this experience as “the relationship with the technical has increasingly become marked by the fact that it was never reflected upon, rather, one contented oneself with the manipulation of levers and buttons – and only in the case of breakdowns were, and are, there regressions into magical modes of thought” (Bausinger, H 1984).
Bausinger’s article shows that the issue with people’s use of technology is still relevant today and is arguably increasingly worse than it once was. As the world continues to shift itself online, it is important for us to pause and reflect on our use of our networked devices, and to evaluate if we are at risk of have a digital addiction.
- Jaddou, L. and Williams, J. (1984). Media, technology and daily life HERMANN BAUSINGER. Media, Culture & Society, [online] 6(4), pp.343-351. Available at: http://journals.sagepub.com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/doi/pdf/10.1177/016344378400600403.