Another day at the office: Smartphone crazy

17.03.2014

A few days ago I was the victim of a small hangover and was just laying in bed, checking Facebook on my phone. I stumbled across the Unicef Tap Project; for every 10 minutes you don’t touch your phone their donors and sponsors can make sure a kid in need has clean drinking water for a whole day. All you had to do was go to uniceftapproject.org on your phone, lay it in a stable position and keep your hands off of it.

Not such a big challenge and I happily made myself some breakfast while the tap was running for a child in need. This is of course a great initiative from Unicef, as clean drinking water should be available for everyone, but in my opinion it also tells us a little something about the attachment and dependency people have to their smartphones. I mean, what’s 10 minutes right? The fact that Unicef presents this as a challenge to get something in return displays the effort it takes someone to just give that smartphone a rest. 

Carpet Right collected some facts and figures concerning the effect of technology on our night’s rest. Apparently 52% of all people sleep with their phones within reach. 79% spends time surfing the web while lying in bed (against 41% that reads a book) and 70% will post an update on social media or send messages. Where does sleep fit in this equation? Apparently more than 15% of people sleep poorly after checking their e-mails before going to sleep. That sucks. 

I’m one of those people that’ll literally get nightmares of the idea that my phone could go overboard a ship, fall out of an airplane, gets crushed by a car, gets stolen, falls down the toilet and the list goes on. I don't think I’m the only one. Or what if your battery dies? I believe there’re actually people that will start hyperventilating when this happens. No worries, besides the possibility to charge your phone on festivals that has been around for a while, it’s now also possible to charge in the middle of Amsterdam! Is it really that impossible to wait until you’re home? 

Why are we like this when it comes to our cellphones or more accurately our very smart phones? I personally think it’s because those phones are not just a convenient help anymore to get in touch with people, but they’ve actually become part of our lives. Besides all contacts our phones contain an agenda (I actually have a real agenda, so this is not my problem) and we make our shopping lists in the notes field. There’re also a lot of memories on that phone in the shape of photo’s and videos. Without maps we have no clue of how to get somewhere, same goes for all those handy travel apps. We receive reminders of who-knows-what, play games when we’re bored and talk to people all over the world. We apparently think life will be empty when we don’t have our phone with us. 

Now I’m probably going to sound like your grandma, but is that really the case? What is going to happen when you put down your phone for a couple of hours? Will you be lonely? Will you really miss that much? Do you think there will not be a display in sight at the train station or bus stop to tell you when it’s leaving?  It probably won't be too bad and in the mean time we can make sure those kids in need get buckets of clean drinking water each day.

So, you still have that phone in your hand? 

Geertje Hermans, press & media at Black Hole Recordings 

*The UNICEF TAP PROJECT 

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