March 8, 2014

America's New Addiction: Gadgetism

If you're one of those whose nose is acceptably not always implanted on the screen of their phone, imagine yourself waiting inside a restaurant to be seated. Look around. Look at the people sitting next to you or those standing with their family or friends. What do you see?

Do you see something very familiar? Something that's constantly becoming a trend, for the lack of a better term, in this new age of digital society. A familiar setting that's constantly sweeping across America's culture and fast becoming an acceptable norm in the unwritten law of socializing, or better yet, the unsocializing of one's self from the here and now.

A trend far-reaching like its seamless Internet provider
As like the effervescent effect of PDA (Public Display of Affection), we too are so imbibed with our own attachment to our phones and its visually hypnotic screens that the world around us seem to disappear and we are transformed into a world where it's just you and your phone and the internet - and you simply can't care less! Like a love-triangle that you can consummate anytime, anywhere, because you can, and it's okay. Or Is it?

Our PDA with our gadgets, sadly, is not just confined in the four walls of public spaces any longer. It has burrowed its grasps into our homes and into our dining tables. A battle that if not fought with dedication will soon find itself victorious!

An example. When was the last time you Google hangout, text or chatted with a member of your family who is in the next room, beside you or upstairs to get a message across and sometimes even while you're in the bathroom?

A society of Cybermen
Thanks or no thanks to technology. Our society is becoming more and more like Cybermen. Our everyday lives is constantly ruled and plagued by the power of technology. From waking up to an Alarm app to an alert notification from your calendar app to asking Google the answers to your everyday problems! 

Yes Google. "Ok Google why is my husband annoying?" 
Don't say you've never attempted to ask!

Gadgetism supported by stats
According to a new data by Pew Research on mobile technology for 2014, it shows that our addiction to gadgets as our go-to-communication device is by far increasing.
  • 90% of American adults have a cell phone (up by 4% from 2012)
  • 58% of these are smartphones
  • While 32% of American adults own an e-reader
  • And 42% of American adults own a tablet computer

Teens and Gadgetism
  • 78% of Teens from 12-17 owns a phone 
  • 37% of these are smartphones (up by 23% from 2011)
  • 23% owns a tablet computer
  • And 74% accesses the internet on cellphones, tablets and other devices

Symptoms of Gadgetism
  • 67%  check their phone for messages, alerts, or calls - even in the absence of an alert notifications.
  • While 44%  sleep with their phone next to their bed, wanting to make sure they wouldn't miss any calls, text messages, or other updates during the night.
  • And 29% say about their cell phones as “something they can’t imagine living without.”

Adhesive lure of Gadgetism
  • Ease of Organizing. 41% coordinate a meeting or get-together using their device.
  • Troubleshooting. 35%  solve an unexpected problem that they or someone else had encountered.
  • Decision-making. 30%  decide whether to visit a business, such as a restaurant by checking reviews.
  • Win an argument. 27%  find specific information to help settle an argument they were having.
  • Updates. 23% look up a score of a favorite sporting event.
  • While 20% get up-to-the-minute traffic or public transit information to find the fastest way to get somewhere.
  • And  19% get help in an emergency situation.

Power of Intervention
While these numbers clearly shows there's no stopping Gadgetism in our society and it's here to stay, we can minimize its impact by eliciting certain rules culminating in our own homes. To establish gadget-free days or even hours assigned to special family times with a prominent no-tech-policy imposed - all this to take back socializing to its righteous place - in the land of the living. Not in the world of Matrix and keystrokes.

Editor's note: This data doesn't even include children younger than 12 who already owns a phone - my 9 year old included - which shows that gadgetism have infiltrated our culture and this current generation with stats far higher than the numbers we see.


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