Are you an email-obssesed zombie-person who reflexively checks his or her smartphone every 10 minutes, not because you felt a vibration or because you are getting a phone call, but rather because you can't help yourself, because checking your smartphone is a mechanical movement for you, as involuntary as breathing or blinking or producing saliva in your mouth?
If so, then we have some good news: You're just like everyone else on this hyper-connected planet of ours! Time magazine's Techland section conducted a massive, fascinating international poll of 5,000 Americans, Britons, South Koreans, Chinese, Indians, South Africans, Indonesians, and Brazilians, and found -- quite unsurprisingly if you've been following smartphone addiction stats -- that everyone in the entire world is unable to simply leave their phone in their pockets. The Time survey paints an unmistakable portrait of a world collectively staring at a tiny display screen for hours and hours of every day. Among the incredible evidence of our impending cybernetic future from the piece:
- 84 percent of respondents said that they could not go a single day without their cellphones.
- 50 percent of Americans sleep with their phone next to them like a teddy bear or a spouse, a number that includes more than 80 percent of 18-24 year olds.
- 20 percent of respondents check their phone every 10 minutes.
- 24 percent said they had used text messages to set up a rendezvous with someone they were having an affair with, a number that includes 56 percent of Chinese respondents.
You can read more of these stats and shake your head at the extent to which we have become addicted to our smartphones on the Time website. (For more on Chinese citizens coordinating affairs with their smartphones, meanwhile, you can always check up on America's No. 1 news outlet for humiliating Communist Party Internet sex scandals, Gawker.com).
Now, Time's thesis that we have become ever-dependent on and attached to our smartphones is nothing groundbreaking: Seemingly every week an eyebrow-raising new study or survey or national poll comes out cataloguing humanity's inability to not check its smartphone while at the dinner table, at least in the developed world. To wit: In June, we learned 40 percent of Americans checked their smartphone while sitting on the toilet (guilty!); an April survey from iPass found that our attachment to our smartphones was ruining our vacations; a February poll of Brits discovered that one in three would rather give up sex than go a week without their phones.
And so and so forth. We are totally, hopelessly addicted, so much so that there is now even a term for a fear of losing one's phone: nomophobia, a trend that, you will be unsurprised to hear, is on the rise).
With all this evidence of our increasing and apparently inescapable Glenn-Close-in-Fatal-Attraction-ish obsession with our phones, we at HuffPost would like to remind you to unplug and recharge every once in a while. Our own BlackBerry-obsessed leader Arianna Huffington once challenged readers to go 30 minutes per day, every day, off the electronic grid; that was back in 2010, and smartphone ownership and network coverage has only skyrocketed in those two years. Perhaps it's time, once again, to let your phone battery die and leave it off for awhile.
For a bunch of tips about how to disconnect from some of the most plugged-in people on the 'Net, check below: