My Guilty Obsession

As day 2 feels more like day 200, my unhealthy habit starts to come out of the wood work like a creepy bug. It started off whilst I was sat on the loo, then stalked me late at night as I lay wide awake in my bed counting the sudden cracks that had long ago appeared in my ceiling. The following morning my unwelcome tendency awoke as my headphones lay lifeless and neglected on my sideboard waiting to be paired with their usual morning dose of Spotify. And as I was sitting on the tube on my way to work – my self-inflicted daily allowance of casual social media stalking had not yet reached even 1% of my usual morning quota.

If you can’t see where I’m going with this, I’m pleased to say that you my friend are one of the lucky ones free from this epidemic of PHONE ADDICTION. 

Seems quite a strong self diagnosis doesn’t it? I’m addicted to my phone. I’m sure, well I know that we’ve almost all gone there – Scrolling through frantically whichever new social media profile has caught our eye, and contributed to feeding another minute of our daily need for a fix. 

Phone addiction and the effects of it, create an ongoing debate inside my head, but I try to rationalise it away into its own little section. On the one hand mankind has developed a device that not only allows us to access virtually all available human knowledge but also to navigate our own inner sensibility while locating our physical surroundings, to communicate with others regardless of their whereabouts, and document our experiences at the single push of a button from anywhere to anywhere at any time. The versatility of reach is its own excitement – so when put like this, I’m pretty convinced that phone addiction is not a frivolity. 

However, ‘social anxiety’, ‘iPosture and text neck’, ‘No-mobile-phone phobia’, and the new found all intensified obsession with body dysmorphia and the comparison between myself, and the Kardashian clan – well, I think we can all raise our hand to being a victim of one of those symptoms… suddenly brings me down to earth with a bump that responds to a concern about the sheer frivolity of this train of thought; so on second thoughts perhaps I won’t go on my phone again… Sounds a bit dramatic doesn’t it? 

Illustration via Gillian Levine

So where is the happy medium? Living in a world where technology and software are slowly invading our every day lives at work, at home, and implanting themselves into the psychological well-being of our younger generations – we have to ask is phone addiction something we’re all going to have to accommodate whether we want to or not? 

I feel overwhelmed when I look at the bigger picture. Have you really thought about it? Go on, really think about technology: banking, education, research, entertainment, news and social media, and the way in which we’re all being morphed into a world curated by the cyber heads. In all honestly I believe they are completely oblivious of the full impact of their actions and repercussions. Perhaps that’s foolish of me to think, especially with apps such as Instagram now more deliberately  controlling exactly what they want us to see, and  as algorithms, rather than social curiosity become the bane of my Insta-life. 

Is this demand or supply led? Reading article upon article, I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer to this controversial subject, the ‘chicken or the egg’ paradox springs to mind. 

I guess the real question I find myself asking is; have we now enfolded ourselves too totally in technology, that the only way to thrive as an economy is to allow it to remain embedded, and for the extent of use to continue even at the risk of destabilising the mental well-being of not only our own but the generations to follow… 

Words – Persephone Quarme