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.