It’s an addiction, not a curse

Who wouldn’t want SIRI, America’s newly beloved digital friend built into iPhones, to vocally answer their questions with the push of a button?

Image courtesy of plg-pllg.com

Andrew Keen, author of a recent CNN article, may be more inclined to call SIRI Mrs. Frankenstein.

With the increasing smart phone intelligence and the addiction the population has created with their mobiles, Keen warned that SIRI and similar programs utilized by other phones will become more and more indistinguishable from the human brain.

Keen wrote:

“The real truth behind these increasingly intelligent devices is personal disempowerment.  Such is the eerie reality of a phone that you can’t live without.”

Cell phone addiction seems to be the latest trend, and rather than a guilty addiction such as alcoholism that one is usually ashamed about, most cell phone users boast about their phone attachment.  MTV even has a reality television show titled “True Life: I Have Digital Drama-Cell Phone and Facebook Addicts,” that follows teens as they share with America how their digital devices are ruling their lives.

Dozens of articles have been published highlighting phone obsessions, many of which mock the addiction.  A blog by Digital Trends light-heartedly listed the “Top 10 Signs of Cell Phone Addiction.”  Number 4 on the list says “You broke it and it feels like you’ve lost a friend.”

I’ve witnessed far too many phone tragedies in my lifetime, and with every tragedy, I have experienced the five stages of grief when a loved one is lost:

  1. Denial.  My phone isn’t really broken.  I can still text on a completely cracked screen.  And I don’t need to know who is calling before I pick up, isn’t that how they did it in the “old days”?
  2. Anger.  I am SO upset, I can’t believe I dropped my phone in the lake/on the ground/in the toilet.  (No, you aren’t the only one who has thought to use your phone on the john.  According to a new study, 80% of Generation X-ers use their cell phone while in the restroom).
  3. Bargaining.  Dear God, I promise I won’t ever text during class again if you would just make my phone turn on!
  4. Depression.  So out of “the loop”, 24 hours without a text or tweet and how can I even trust that the world outside my physical surroundings is carrying on as usual?  (With drawl symptoms, including the “Phantom Vibration Syndrome” usually set in right around this stage).
  5. Acceptance.  I haven’t actually ever gotten to this stage…depression usually lasts until I have a glistening new replacement phone in my hands.

When most teens are used to sending and receiving over 3,000 text messages per month, the thought of losing a cell phone is terrifying to many. Just not having a phone for a day means missing up to 116 text messages. Image courtesy of Nielsen Blog.

Until firm evidence confirms any detrimental long term effects of heavy cell phone use, I will continue speaking to SIRI and using my mobile to keep up with the evolving digital media world.

I would like to change the description of my addiction.  I am addicted to the media, social connections, and music my phone provides, not the technology and robotic insides of the phone itself.  Now I feel a bit more human.

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