I read a statistic over breakfast today. “Young adults spend 5 hours staring at their phone screen every day, a third of the time on average that they are awake”. I mean it all seemed a bit too ironic that I was reading this statistic, on twitter whilst trying to eat my breakfast quickly with the TV on in the background. Even as I write this now, I am acutely aware that I have spent the majority of my day in front of my laptop screen or on my phone.
New research conducted by British psychologists shows that young adults use their smartphones roughly twice as much as they estimate that they do. If you asked me how much I looked at my phone in a day, I couldn’t tell you and I’m not sure I would want people to tell me.
We live such fast paced lives now. One person can be contacted at any given time, through so many different apps on their phone which usually firmly lives in their back pocket or handbag. And I am no different. I spent a bit of time earlier this month without a phone after it got stolen (RIP old phone). I was at an utter loss. There was hilarious conversation going on in group chats I couldn’t check because of my phonelessness. I couldn’t find my friends when I needed them because how was I to message them. I couldn’t even FaceTime my parents to show them the salmon I had made which I felt firmly demonstrated how well I was adulting. I was rendered helpless in the absence of what really shouldn’t be that important to me.
But what I did realise in the short period of time with which I had no phone (it was literally 4 days, it shouldn’t have had such a profound effect on me) was that time and space is not actually something that many of us are afforded now. They could even be classed as a luxury. I know I never turned my phone off prior to losing it, in fear that I would miss an important message or email. To be able to sit in my bedroom and focus on one thing at a time; even something as simple as reading an article, without the interruption of my phone was the most relaxing thing. It didn’t take me half an hour to read the article because of constant interruption and I didn’t quit after the first paragraph because something else caught my eye.
There is something to be said for being able to just sit with your own thoughts. Or sit in bed at night and read a book or a magazine uninterrupted by the world around you. And I hate that I am saying this like it is something so revolutionary to me. Yet I saw the benefit of it and now I am with phone again (praise the lord/ Apple) I am back to my old ways.
I so badly wish I could be one of those people who has an old, tiny phone which just rings and texts people. Rather than the stress inducing but much loved iPhone which has become the centre of all organisation in my life. It’s such a love/ hate relationship but I think if I do one thing this Christmas it’s going to be turn off my phone for an hour and then just sit and read a book. At least then I won’t have tinder messages flashing up at the Christmas table and I can give my relatives right wing/borderline bigoted views my full attention.