I would have come up with an appropriate title, but my cellphone distracted me


A lot of us know we spend too much time on our cellphone. We check Facebook, Twitter and the News regularly, especially during the moments we are not being occupied by anything exciting. But aren’t things getting a little out of hand here? Recent studies show that we spend three hours and sixteen minutes on average on our cellphone every day. That is eleven minutes of every hour staring at a 5 inch screen (assuming an 7 hour sleep at night).

As you probably would have guessed, the majority of this time we are occupied with Social Media and communication. We send about 65 messages and check out Facebook 14 times per day. I believe that our mobile phone takes a too important place in our lives

SHARE OF TIME SPENT USING SMARTPHONE APPS BY CATEGORY

  U.S. U.K. Japan
Communications 12% 9% 16%
Shopping/Commerce 2% 5% 6%
News/Info 2% 5% 5%
Productivity/Function 11% 7% 6%
Entertainment 6% 15% 9%
Games 9% 18% 16%
Social 28% 29% 24%
Others 29% 12% 17%
Source: Nielsen

Table one: Share of time spent using smartphone apps by category

Given these extreme statistics, I believe that it would improve your life is you install “Moment” on you smartphones and use Moment to take control over your mobile internet time spent.

First, a little introduction of Moment, in case you have not heard of this application before (like me before I started doing research on this topic). The only thing that the free version of Moment does is monitoring you daily time spent on your cellphone.

However, if you do the € 4,99 upgrade, additional functions are unlocked. These are typically the functions that you are looking for when actively taking control over the time you spend on your cellphone. In the pro version of Moment, it can activate your smartphone’s alarm when you pass the time limit of the day. You can set and decrease this time limit yourself. More rigorously, Moment can deactivate your mobile phone, and limit its functions to emergency calls when you pass the daily time limit. This evidently forces you to decrease the time you spend on your mobile.

The reasons you want to decrease the amount of time you are occupied with your smartphone are obvious.

First of all, unlimited and uncontrolled mobile internet usage can cause psychological and social distortions. This is due to the fact that you (unconsciously) feel that information streams can continuously be exposed to you, which decreases the feeling of privacy and makes relaxation more difficult. Moreover, being occupied with your smartphone all the time, decreases the time you spend on face-to-face social interaction. Studies show that this can cause social isolation. Both are important drivers behind stress.

Secondly, as has been demonstrated above, social media is an important category that we spend our time one while using our smartphone. Social media is often perceived as harmless media with infinite possibilities.

Afbeelding1

Figure 1: Interaction between actors of a social media network.

However, there are dangers behind the usage of Facebook, Twitter etcetera. This is due of a couple of factors. First, one could think of the world as presented on the social media as the real world, where people’s life are a continuum of highlights and successes. Studies show that people project this distorted “real world” on his or her own life unconsciously, decreasing his/her self-image. If you would limit the amount of time you spend on looking at these social media, there is more time to put the updates, tweets etc. into perspective.

Secondly, too much social media can get people addicted to the mini ego-boosts (caused by little endorphin shots) from every like or comment that is being given by someone else. This leads to a decreased capability to deal with setbacks, which causes stress. Third, research has shown that one is only capable of maintaining 150 social relations. Without going into detail about the evolutionary implication of this study, due to social media we exceed that number significantly. This is another driver behind stress.

Afbeelding2

Figure 2: Ambient intimacy when having more than 150 “friends”

Limiting your time spent on your smartphone does obviously not decrease the number of friends you have, but it does force you to only look at the posts of friends that are really relevant to you.

Last but not least, excessive smartphone usage has a negative effect on your concentration. Knowing that an exciting message from your friend might pop up every moment decreases the ability to isolate yourself from the outside world and focus on work or education-related materials. A study conducted by the Whittemore School of Business and Economics shows that 51% of students experience a decrease in their performance due to the activity on their smartphone.

So there are convincing arguments that excessive smartphone time spent leads to a variety of negative implications. Fortunately, Moment can help you in a very practical way to gain control over this problem. It is momentarily only available for Iphone. However, the “Quality Time” application is a good substitute for Android users.

Fabian Dekker

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http://www.unh.edu/news/docs/2010CellphoneUsageStudy.pdf

http://tweakers.net/nieuws/104448/nederlandse-whatsapp-gebruikers-krijgen-gemiddeld-65-berichten-per-dag.html

http://tweakers.net/nieuws/93268/nederlandse-facebook-gebruikers-bijna-uur-per-dag-op-facebook.html

http://www.scientias.nl/waarom-facebook-een-deel-van-ons-leven-opeist/

http://www.besocialized.nl/blog/social-media-cijfers/

http://twittermania.nl/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Dunbars-number.jpg

http://www.telegraaf.nl/digitaal/23174776/__Gemiddeld_221_keer_per_dag_op_smartphone__.html

http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2014/how-smartphones-are-changing-consumers-daily-routines-around-the-globe.html

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One response to “I would have come up with an appropriate title, but my cellphone distracted me”

  1. laurlange says :

    I think the fact that this instrument can be easily stored in the pant pocket is also a reason why smartphones are a loss of time. Due to its easy access, during a boring moment, you will be attracted by your smartphone. Also, a lot of people are addicted to constantly be informed. They are not looking anymore for useful information, but futilities are now-a-days considered as needed. The described applications focus mainly to limit the use of a smartphone. Another solution could be a filter app. Such an app will filter the information and block for a certain period of time useless information. For example, when your mother is sending you a message to know if you will eat at home this evening. The app allows you to receive the message. But when a friend of you send you a message to know if you have a hangover of last night party. The app will block this information for a period, so you are not disturbed by the useless information. After some research on the internet, I did not found that kind of app. So, a message to the app developers: “I know it is a tricky and an uneasily implementable idea, but consider it as a challenge. Try to create a filter app to give some quality time to smartphone addicts”.
    However, the negative effects are not only relevant for smartphones. In my eyes, computers and other electronic devices with an online connection can cause those effects.
    P.S.: I was immediately attracted by the title of this blog. Good title and interesting blog!!!!

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