Technology is getting in the way of real life as Britons become smartphone addicts
Millions of Brits are missing out on life’s most precious moments because they are too busy trying to capture them on their mobile phones, according to a new study.
Altogether, a hefty four in ten say they have not truly experienced significant moments, such as a child’s first steps or graduation, because technology got in the way.
Many people admit they are becoming addicted, with the average adult saying 19 hours is the longest he or she can be parted from their mobile phone before feeling “miserable”.
Over a third (36%) confess they spend too much on their mobile, laptop or tablet, yet a third said also they choose locations to visit or events to attend because the resulting photographs will enhance their social media profile.
The poll of 2,000 UK adults was conducted by IntrepidTravel.com, which has launched a new range of four ‘digital detox’ adventures for people wanting to wean themselves off their dependence on technology.
The top ten things people would give up for a month in place of mobile service or Wi-Fi are: alcohol; junk food; sweets; coffee; exercise; going out; sex; music; TV and movies; and friends.
The research also unearthed some real life dramas triggered by technology, such as the student who missed a crucial exam because he was engrossed in a game on his mobile phone. Also, a woman split up with her boyfriend because he was so addicted he took his mobile to bed with him and slept with it in his pyjama trousers pocket; she later discovered he had been cheating on her and he was anxious about being found out.
According to the research, 55% of people who acknowledge they have a problem are also willing to take steps to kick their habit.
Quite apart from the psychological dependence on technology, many have suffered actual physical injury because of it; one in five has bumped into someone because they were so preoccupied with their handheld device, and one in seven has tripped or fallen while texting or walked into a pole or wall.
And to add insult to injury, millions of people regularly transgress social etiquette by texting in the cinema during a film (22%), during a wedding (18%), in church (6%), and even during sex (3%).
Over three quarters of users admit their phone is never more than three feet away from them and they have even used it while having spa massage.
Even on a regular holiday, 38% said they couldn’t go without their mobile, with the average user spending two hours of their time away searching for a connection.
Michael Edwards, UK managing director of Intrepid Travel, said: “As this research shows, we’ve become so obsessed with documenting all of life’s moments that sometimes we are forgetting to live them. Taking some time to unplug and go back to the good old days of travel, free from modern technology, could be just the remedy.”