Americans were never any good at relaxing, anyway. But technology has taken away our nights and weekends, and it sure seems like holidays are at risk, too. I explored this phenomenon on the Friday before Memorial Day in my Red Tape Chronicles column.
Users check their phones every 6 minutes, or 150 times per day, according to this. Sounds right. We check e-mail when we are stressed (is the boss looking for me?) and when we are bored (when will this bus get here?) Slowly, but certainly, reaching for the phone has become a habit. Now what?
There are plenty of mini-movements designed to get you to relax that grip on the phone. Plenty of folks are arguing to gadget breaks or tech Sabbaths. There’s a National Day of Unplugging, sponsored by an organization named Reboot. These are all positive steps, but in the face of compulsive/addictive behavior, such movements don’t stand much of a chance. The unfair fight reminds me of the struggle privacy advocates face in the world of Facebook.
Don’t get me wrong. I love technology. Really. Some of my best friends are gadgets. Smartphones have freed us to create brand new work-life arrangements that may eventually save us all from this insanity. Tech certainly does more harm than good, as anyone who’s been in a hospital with a sick relative recently would surely agree. But it’s not ALL good. In fact, it’s probably 60-40, in my book, and the 40 doesn’t get nearly enough attention. That’s why I’m here.
So, tell the truth: How many times did you check your cell phone this weekend? And if you didn’t, how did you do it? (NOT do it. Well, you get the point).