“Hey, can you turn down the volume on my phone?” I asked a coworker. It was hooked up to the overhead speakers, playing a Lionel Richie song from my iTunes library — you know, the one about being the sun and the rain. I had my hands full watching the kids in the pool, making sure they weren’t slapping each other with those foam noodles, which is more perilous than you’d imagine. My coworker complied. And then he dropped my phone.
I watched it happen. I watched him drop it like it was no big deal. He picked it up and looked at me sheepishly. Well, at least he dropped it on its back, I thought. Better than facedown, right? Who wants to screw up their face?
And then I recognized my train of thought for what it was: absurd. Unreasonable. Maybe even a bit disturbing.
It made me think about how much I care for my phone. It made me think of the delicate way I place it in my purse. It actually has its own separate pocket because I don’t want anything — loose change, wallet zipper, polky pen, stray earring — scratching it. And heaven forbid if something in there spilled on it, such as my Sinful Colors collection or (ampersand alert) Brisk Half & Half Iced Tea & Cherry Limeade. Cue a World War Z type of international meltdown.
It’s sad, really. Phones are not people. Phones are not even friends. Phones are … phones. But whatever the hell they are, they’re addicting.
Speaking of addiction, New York Magazine recently posted an article regarding the obsessive use of phones among the college demographic. Melissa Dahl opens with a zinger: “If a new study from Baylor University is to be believed, college women spend an incredible ten hours a day futzing around on their cell phones — and the guys aren’t far behind, losing eight hours each day the same way.” Damn, no beating around the bush.
Furthermore, according to a USA TODAY College article, this type of phone addiction involves real, negative effects that draw a lucid parallel to the symptoms of drug and alcohol addicts. Dr. James Roberts, a professor of marketing in Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business says that stress, anxiety, tension, depression and irritability are common outcomes when people surrender their phones — even for a couple of hours.
I called home and shared these golden nuggets of knowledge with the silver-haired man who raised a good, virtuous woman with a minor bad habit of spending 10 hours a day on her iPhone 5s. (And no, I’m not drooling over the 6. That’d be like giving up a child in exchange for a shinier one. What are you thinking?)