If time is money, our phones are proving costly

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Do you remember the last time you went to the toilet without clutching your phone? The last time you watched a film without googling the cast halfway through? The last time you were left momentarily alone in a pub and decided to just sit there and admire the decor? Me neither.

Almost two-thirds of people under 35 check their phone within five minutes of waking up

Last year, UK communications overlords Ofcom revealed that almost two-thirds of people under the age of 35 check their phone within five minutes of waking up. The other third, I assume, are still waiting for a way to inject blue light directly into their retinas.

Now, I wish I could sit on a phone-free pedestal and judge, but we’re all guilty of it. “My phone’s my alarm!” I hear you cry. You’ve tripped at the first hurdle. As soon as you reach for that smashed-screened iPhone 7, you’ve let it dictate your morning. Quick catch-up on the Instagram stories before getting out of bed? Why not. Mindless scroll through Twitter before engaging the brain for the day? Go on then. Three hours later and the blinds are still drawn.

Young people are using their phones two days a week, or 106 days a year

Digital dependency is indeed on the rise and the youth of today is the most hooked. According to Ofcom, we check our phones every 12 minutes and some young people spend over seven hours a day staring at their device. After punching those numbers into my calculator app, that works out to
two days a week, or 106 days a year. That’s right, us millennials are all crushed avocado-eating, daytime TV-watching, mobile phone junkies.

As soon as you reach for that smashed-screened iPhone 7, you’ve let it dictate your morning

So why do we use our phones so much? Well, with a loaded cartridge of knowledge and debate-settling facts in your holster, it’d be foolish not to fire it. Additionally, on a more personal level, our phones relieve us from the fear of boredom and, at least temporarily, give us a fix of our constant craving for entertainment. That’s probably too deep for any of us to care to admit, though.

I’m not going to suggest we all ceremoniously lob our phones into the Wear, but we can certainly take measures to wean ourselves off them. By disabling unnecessary notifications, switching on flight-mode overnight, or simply digging out Dad’s old alarm clock, we can start to reclaim some of those precious hours spent gawking at a 5-inch LED screen.

There are apps that give a rundown of smartphone usage and offer time-limiting features, but I daren’t look at them

Interestingly, there are also apps that give a detailed run-down of smartphone usage and offer time-limiting features, but I daren’t look at them. I guess Freud would say I am in denial, that I’m refusing to face up to reality and, until I do, I’ll be forever troubled by the inner workings of my psyche. That’s what Siri told me he’d say anyway.

Photograph by Robin Warrall via Unsplash


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