/ Technology

Tech addictions – can you be separated from your smartphone?

There’s a rule I’ve always abided by in my household – no phones at the table. It was a discipline my parents instilled in me and a rule I live by. So why would you be glued to your gadget when eating out?

With one of the world’s biggest technology shows, CES, under way in the States (and some Which? technology experts reporting live from the event) it’s fair to say that technology’s role in our lives is only set to grow.

We’re a social savvy nation – and I’m all for it. Just think how regularly you hear news reports combine user-generated content with their reports – ‘this picture captured on an eye witness’s smart phone’ or ‘a number of celebrities have tweeted their support’.

Tech at the table

I was taken aback when eating out the other night to see a couple on the table next to me using their phones throughout dinner. The phones weren’t interrupting their conversation – in fact they were passing their phones to each other discussing whatever it was that had caught their eye throughout the meal.

The romantic in me was a little sad. Couldn’t they have kept their phones away for the duration of dinner? Are we so preoccupied with our gadgets that we can’t step back and go without?

My sensible side wondered whether they just don’t spend enough time together, making dinner out the perfect time to catch up on news they want to share. But no, I’m not convinced by that argument either.

Smartphone abuse

My boyfriend and me are quite strict about keeping tech on lock-down during dinner, and it’s no surprise considering how distracted I was by the use of technology on the table next to me!

In a light-hearted poll we conducted on Which? Convo last year, a number of you told us you’d give up chocolate, coffee or alcohol just to keep your smartphone. So how do we deal with these addictions? Keep the old ‘everything in moderation approach’, or do something more extreme to keep your dependence under control?

Well, one option could be to go to a digital clinic, with the BBC reporting that they could be big in 2013. We’ve talked about going cold turkey on technology when on holiday, but how many of us feel we have an unhealthy addiction to tech all year round? Is detoxing from tech one of your resolutions?


I don’t have a smartphone

I have a smartphone but seldom use it, my
gf seems to be a complete addict!

I don’t have a smartphone. I may spend too long in front of a computer, but probably less than most people spend in front of the TV. I would argue that my addiction is more useful.

I don’t have a smartphone or use social networking. However, improving communications will inevitably lead to their greater use – and why not! Keeping in more regular contact with family, friends, business, up-to-date news, is made much more convenient. It simply follows on from the invention of the telephone, email, 24 hour news, and the internet. It becomes second nature to those who use it.

Richard says:
10 January 2013

We are being brainwashed into thinking that keeping in touch with everybody 24 hours a day is normal and indeed ‘essential’. The downside? This technology, which many claim is liberating us, is actually making us prisoners and devaluing ‘quality’ personal interaction (what else is it if a conversation is interrupted by a phone-call?) with unknown personal psychological and social consequences as well as many known dangers such as loss of privacy, identity fraud and cyber-bullying. If it was a new drug it would be subject to extensive testing for side-effects etc before it was released onto the market. Instead, people are derided if they hesitate before jumping onto the bandwagon. My guess is that in 10 or 20 years time (when current ‘technology’ will certainly be obsolete) we will look back and wonder how we could have been so stupid.