Handheld Devices: Addiction or Obsession?

Is there a difference? As a guilty member, I ponder how this mania is affecting our lives, and specifically our relationships?

Observation Baltimore researchers have reviewed the data, and importantly, provide recommendations that may prove helpful even for those of us who would rather remain in denial.

The Facts:

1. A new study suggests that college students worldwide are “addicted” to portable electronic devices, such as cell phones, laptops and MP3 players. But we have a feeling that this addiction does not just pertain to college students. (HealthDay News)

2. One in eight people consider themselves to be addicted to the Internet. (Internet Addiction Expert)

3. There are 5.3 billion mobile subscribers. That’s 77 percent of the world population. (mobiThinking)

4. There are 302.9 million mobile subscribers in the U.S. That’s 96 percent of population. (mobiThinking)

5. Mobile searches have quadrupled in the last year, for many items one in seven searches are now mobile. (mobiThinking)

6. 2.5 billion text messages are sent each day in the U.S. (Neustar)

7. As of November 2011, there are more than 350 million active users [44 percent] currently accessing Facebook through their mobile devices. People that use Facebook on their mobile devices are twice as active on Facebook as non-mobile users. (Facebook official statistics)

8. The average American household spent $1,380 over the past year on consumer electronics.  This makes the CE industry a $165 billion per year industry, thriving in spite of a recession. (Consumer Electronics Association)

9. A Chinese study in 2011 confirmed that intensive use of the Internet changed the size of different parts of the brain. It also altered the way the subjects learned, making computer use more efficient but causing damage to short-term memory and decision-making. (Internet Addiction Expert)

Our obsession may soon be labeled a clinical addiction:  The academic community is investigating creation of a DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) tool to diagnose electronic addition.

If you’re among the “over-wired,” consider the following:

1. Document Time Spent: There are many shareware programs that will track how much time you expend online (many with free trial versions):  Windows “Productivity Calculator” and Firefox “Page Addict.”

2. Create Rules: Commit to offline time, whether it’s an entire day, or just hours per day, define a window to disconnect electronically and reconnect personally.

3. Turn-Off Sound Alerts: Those surrounding you will be thankful, and you’ll experience fewer auditory interruptions.

4. Move Away from the Device: Leave your device out of reach, (especially while driving), and spend time with faces or papers.

Although written somewhat in jest, please be careful not to allow technology to replace people in your life:  “Loneliness is an increasingly common by-product of an over-reliance on technology, which in itself is used as a remedy for the problem it created.” (Erupting Mind)

To find out more, contact the market research specialists at Observation Baltimore by calling 410-332-0400 or click here today!

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This entry was posted on Friday, November 25th, 2011 at 2:25 pm. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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