Is there a difference? As a guilty member, I ponder how this mania is affecting our lives, and specifically our relationships?
Observation Baltimore researchers have reviewed recent data findings, and importantly, provide recommendations that may prove helpful even for those of us who would rather remain in denial.
- Of 314 million U.S. residents (2012), 326.4 million are wireless subscribers (US Census and CTIA Media). That’s right; there are more wireless subscribers than people in the U.S. This can be attributed to people with multiple lines and devices. For example, one for work and one for personal use.
- U.S. wireless subscribers sent 2.19 trillion text messages in 2012, which works out to 6 billion texts a day (CTIA);
- The U.S. wireless industry is valued at almost $200 billion, making it larger than the motor vehicle manufacturing industry, the agriculture industry, and the hotel and lodging industry, among others.
- The total number of active Twitter users is approximately 650 million, pumping out 9,100 tweets every second. (Jan, 2014, Statistic Brain);
- YouTube videos receive over 3 billion views per day, nearly double the statistics for the three major U.S. television networks combined (Viral Blog).
Our obsession may soon be labeled a clinical addiction: The academic community is investigating creation of a DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) tool to diagnose electronic addition.
If you are among the over-wired, consider the following tips to try and wean yourself off of your handhelds:
- Document Time Spent: This may bring a new realization that you are unaware of. There are many shareware programs that will track how much time you expend online (many with free trial versions): Windows “Productivity Calculator” and Firefox “Page Addict.”
- Create Rules: Commit to offline time, whether it is an entire day, or just hours per day, define a window to disconnect electronically and reconnect personally.
- Turn-Off Sound Alerts: Those surrounding you will be thankful, and you will experience fewer auditory interruptions.
- Move Away from the Device: Leave your device out of reach, especially while driving, and spend time with faces or papers.
Although written somewhat in jest, please be careful not to allow technology to replace people in your life: Loneliness is an increasingly common by-product of an over-reliance on technology, which in itself is used as a remedy for the problem it created. (Erupting Mind)