The Modern Addiction to Cell Phones
I wish I grew up 30 years ago. Not because I want 50-cent Coca-Colas, or because I want to watch Larry Bird go up against Magic Johnson (though that would be a plus), or even because I wouldn’t have to hear this annoying message before watching any movie in a movie theater: “Our world seems to be overrun with technology. There is a time and a place for it, but a movie theater is not the time nor place…Do not be the person we ask to leave the auditorium…because we will.”
No, it’s because 30 years ago I wouldn’t have to look around only to find everyone around me on their bright little cell phone screens. You can’t go anywhere without seeing someone with their head down looking at their phone. People everywhere live through social media apps such as Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, and many others. The idea of getting the satisfaction from your post being “liked” or looking at others peoples’ lives through your phone has become the addiction we all know.
Teenagers especially are using these handheld devices for a nearly a half of their days, “On any given day, teens in the United States spend about nine hours using media for their enjoyment,” according to CNN.
I miss the good ol’ days when we all had flip phones and the phone that had a sliding keyboard was considered cool. I never had that phone, but I always wished I did.
I was in sixth grade when my peer group was first introduced to the iPhone. It was only the first generation iPhone, but at the time it was still more advanced than any other phone out there. The iPhone quickly became the newest sensation. Since then, 14 other models of iPhones that have been released, all the way up to the most recent iPhone seven plus. But what makes this phone so special? The millions of apps on the Apple store enable your phone to have features like no other phone out there.
The apps started out as simple games and utilities for your phone but quickly expanded into more. Social media apps were the ones that changed the game. Apps like Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter, were introduced and took America by storm. They sway people to become a part of the iPhone sensation and create the most popular forms of communication. Sadly, these forms of communication overpower face to face interactions and make the world a different place.
In a recent episode of 60 Minutes, they analyzed why people are so absorbed in their phones and claimed that social media apps were more than just apps made for people to communicate in a “fun” way.
Social media apps were made to make people addicted so the creators would make more money, a strategy known as “Brain Hacking.” For example, Snapchat, which is probably the most popular app for highschoolers currently, creates streaks that you get from sending pictures back and forth to the same individual everyday.
Kids get so caught up in maintaining these streaks that it can actually cause severe levels of stress or sadness if they’re lost. Some users even go as far to give their password to their other friends to keep their streaks going on their behalf while on vacation.
The use of social media and the addiction to constantly refreshing your feed to see what else is new in your friends lives make your mood worse. In a study by National Institute of Mental Health, it was found that there is a direct correlation between social media and mental health, “The study found that levels of depression increased with total amount of time spent using social media and number of visits to social media sites per week,” according to The Conversation.
So it makes you wonder if features like these on our phones are being made to help people with their lives or being made for the sole reason of hooking people into using the products.
And now that iPhones rule the world, the companies behind them are taking advantage of the people using them. Far too many people are getting addicted because of features like social media and far too many people are delusional to the fact that “brain hacking” is happening to them as well.
Just take a step back and notice how much time you spend on your phone, are you addicted as well?
As Ferris Bueller once said, “If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.” Take a second, put your phone down, and go outside. Stop letting your phone take over your whole life!