Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Making Whoopee With Mobile Phones


On the heels of my post last week (which in short, outlined that despite the fact that iPhone's actual phone function sucks, the rest of the cool stuff makes it totally worth it), I wanted to throw out a few statistics about people and their phones in general. I got these numbers from the brand new Pew Internet report "Cell phones and American adults."

To begin, let's state the obvious, people use their phones a lot. On average, they send and receive 10 texts a day (for teens it's somewhere closer to 50--which I'm sure is really obvious if any of you have ever spent time with a teen. Out of service areas used to make my little brother all nervous and jumpy, as if being out of network for an hour was going to cause his entire social construct fall…such matters as addiction to technology will have to wait for a future post though…also a post about what's wrong with younger generations...). Folks also make an average five voice calls per day.

I think the most interesting part of this report is that it turns out that people love their phones…they love their phones so much that 65% of them have slept with their cell phones on or directly next to their beds.   As funny as this prospect is (this number will surely resurface on my future post about addiction to technology), it's not nearly as funny as the fact that "Adults who have slept with or near their phones are also more likely to feel positively about their phone."

Are people developing emotional relationships with their phones? I mean, they're there when you go to bed, they gently wake you up in the morning…you appreciate them more when you sleep with them. This finding is eerily similar to "normal" relationships, so much that the report continues by stating: "Phone sleepers are just as likely to express irritation with the phone as those who don't sleep near their handset." (Another startling similarity to many relationships involving two humans, who, as we well know, can continually sleep together yet still express an awkward amount of irritation with each other).

Couple psychology aside, I wondered upon reading this report what, if any, other effects could be caused by continually sleeping with phones. So, I asked a medical doctor, who said, in a nut shell that: We don't really know the effects of long term exposure to mobile phones, there have been inconclusive studies.  Nevertheless, there is a sentiment amongst the medical community that that long term exposure to devices like cell phones (which emits radiation) could be damaging.

So, just to be safe, stick to sleeping with other humans for now (and hopefully be safe about that too)!