A Silent Addiction

Why do we check our phones all. the. time? How often do we put our devices down, only to pick them back up moments later to see what’s been missed–– texts, emails, calls, Snaps, notifications…? Do you find yourself constantly refreshing the screen just in case? Deloitte’s 2018 Global Mobile Consumer Survey reported that on average, American consumers check their smartphones 52 times each day. That may even be a modest estimation…. 

Why do our phones captivate us to the point that we’re spending time frantically refreshing our accounts only to find another Chili’s rewards member email and a reminder about our dentist visit next week? 

But the truth is we’re looking for something deeper–– we’re looking for validation and for someone to offer answers to all the questions in our lives. Should you be looking for a new home? Zillow just sent you 3 emails with listings to review. Are you in the dating game? Better see what new matches you got. Are you looking to further your career, education or philanthropic involvements? Your devices can connect you to ideas, opportunities, contacts… Looking for plans for this weekend? Your phone can offer you invites from friends and event details… 

Have you ever forgotten your phone or lost it under a couch cushion for a few hours? Initially there may be anxious withdrawals where your hand automictically moves to find your phone before remembering it’s not with you. After a few hours when you’re finally reunited with your phone, you check it expecting to see thousands of notifications and dire emergencies that need your attention only to find one Twitter notification about a viral video and some emails that can wait until tomorrow. 

And how do you feel after that? Honestly you may be a little embarrassed… embarrassed that the world did go on without you, even though you had no connection to it for three entire hours. Our desire to constantly check our devices may in part come from necessity driven by work or family demands, but it could also be highly influenced by our longing to feel significant and validated. 

What are the root causes adding fuel to your device addiction? 

Amy Greene