Smartphones are ruling our lives and killing our imaginations
March 18, 2016
It wasn’t too long ago that smartphones were a novelty, something the ardent tech-heads would queue up in the street to buy. But now we must go to the ends of the earth to escape them.
When Suzie Blackwell hiked through the mountains of Patagonia, she stayed at a camp with no Wi-Fi. “It was really noticeable how friendly people were,” she says. “Everyone was very open and approachable, and really engaged when you sat down and talked.”
Blackwell, who uses a work mobile as well as her own smartphone at home in Sydney, found it liberating. With no prospect of connecting to the internet, people made personal connections the priority.
Since Apple launched the iPhone in 2007, smartphones have saturated society. More than 80 per cent of Australians have one; only 4 per cent of 18 to 34-year-olds don’t.
We use them to email, take photos, check social media, listen to music, surf the internet, find directions, watch movies. We even use our smartphones to use our smartphones less, installing apps that monitor and limit our activity….. The pressure to be constantly available and responsive on social media can cause depression, anxiety and decrease sleep quality for teenagers, according to University of Glasgow researchers.
It’s not just teens feeling that way. Thirty per cent of those surveyed for the latest EY Digital Australia: State of the Nation report said their smartphone or tablet negatively affected their sleep or stress. Thirty-one per cent felt “addicted” to their device – a figure that rose to 46 per cent among 18 to 34-year-olds. They are a major contributor to the breakdown of the work/life divide; one study found working from smartphones and tablets adds two hours to the average working day.