Monday 23 April 2018

Are we addicted to our smartphones?

Straight Talking - Deborah Coleman

New research published this week reflects quiet accurately, the Irish public's dependency on their smartphones.

According to Irish Life who commissioned the research, over a quarter of people check their phones all day, every day.

While seeing the results of such polls is a bit of fun, one only has to walk down any street or in fact go into any public place to see that this is true.

Most of us use our phones, so the research says, for emails (87%), social media (71%) and for checking the news and weather (67%) - all of which accurately reflect society today.

It is not so much about our 'dependence' on smart technology however - but rather how unless we embrace it, we will find the most mundane and everyday tasks more and more challenging.

Companies, and even State bodies are all moving towards a more tech-savvy existence and they no longer want customers phoning up to do business.

They want us logged in, and doing the job ourselves.

I know for those who did not grow up with the luxury of technology this must seem like a major inconvenience and of course, customers should have the choice of dealing with an actual human being if they wish.

However, for many, logging on and sorting ourselves out is preferable.

Who would opt to stay on hold for 20 minutes when you can pay a bill or place an order online within a few minutes? However, if you have spent a lifetime without ever having or needing to be online then it could seem like the biggest hassle in the world.

While smartphones can make life so much easier, there is something to be learned from these figures, and that perhaps it is wise to take a break from time to time - from screens, from social media, and from the constant stress of being accessible. We are never really 'off'.

Whether it is work or personal business, everything is at our fingertips 24/7 and it is difficult to switch off.

Most of us even sit in front of the television scrolling through our phones, without focusing on either - surely that can't be healthy.

So how do we going about finding the healthy balance and in getting the most from technology without it ruling our lives? Surely, there must be an app for that?

Sligo Champion