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Confessions of a Smartphone Addict

Hello. My name is Patrick, and I’m a smartphone addict.

Whew, do I feel better.

I started off slow, just using from time to time. Only when things at work were really blowing up, or if I was waiting for a very important answer to a very important question. But then, over time, I used more and more. I felt anxious if my phone wasn’t in my pocket. I answered text messages and emails while driving.

Then, one day, as I had my nose stuck in the small glowing screen of knowledge and information, typing and retyping and retyping again with big thumbs on an itsy-bitsy keypad, my 5-year-old daughter said, “Daddy! Put your phone down!”

That was when I knew I had a problem.

I tried to quit. I’d put my phone on the countertop when I got home, but I’d find myself looking over at it lying there, taunting me – calling to me, if you will. Then, if no one was in the room, I’d grab it and take a quick peek.

I could rationalize it in my head. I mean, I might miss something, right? Someone might need information that only I have. There might be a post on Facebook that, by the time I’ve seen it, all the funny responses will be taken. If I don’t keep up with my Twitter feed, it’ll get out of control, and I’ll have 300 tweets to read.What will everyone do if they don’t get a status update from me? Or if I don’t “Check in” when I get to the gas station or the restaurant or the dry cleaner?

Seems silly when I say it out loud. But aren’t all addictions, when it comes right down to it? I wish there were a patch I could wear on my arm, or a pill I could take, to help me kick the habit.

I know I’m not alone here. As I type this, the two people next to me are thumbs-to-keypad. I saw several people texting in their cars on my commute this morning. My nephews will stop in the middle of a face-to-face conversation and answer a text or email. When did it become okay to disengage from the person we’re actually talking to and answer our “electronic” friends? I’m guilty.

A friend said he took his teenaged daughter’s phone away as a consequence of her texting at 3 in the morning. After about a week, she told him, “At first, I really missed it. Like, a lot. But now, it’s really kinda nice.”

Maybe I can get him to take my phone away. It might really be kinda nice.

Categories: Mobile, Social Media

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Comments

  • Meg_cuddihee ·

    A dear teenager we knew had an anxiety attack when she learned some peers went out to breakfast and had decided to not invite her. In “70s” time the news would have come into her home over the kitchen phone. It hurt just as much to be shunned in the 70s but more there was also a chance your mother would have overheard enough of the conversation to plant the unconvincing but neverless loving seed “their just jealous of your stunning good looks.” But no, dear teenager ended up in an amubulance – with an ER nurse informing her parents of what happened. Her phone was taken away and yes in a few days she realized she would have to change her relationship with this phone. And she did. Maybe none should carry a smart phone unless they can annually prove they CAN live with out it.

  • Mom ·

    Yes, Patrick, we have discussed this about you. The last time you called us to meet us at the restaurant we said on the way, ‘we get to go see Patrick text on his phone.’ But we love you anyway and have seen you go through many other phases and come out o.k. so we’re hanging in there.

  • Nick Smoot ·

    Very well written and cuts to the quick.