I came across some disturbing ones just this morning while I sat eating my breakfast, filter coffee in the right hand and smartphone in my left:
1. India is second only to the US in having the world’s largest active smartphone user base
2. A regular smartphone user checks their device on an average of 6 times an hour
3. Mobile phones are the biggest non-drug addiction of the 21st century
We all know the latest tech brands launched in the market, but how many are aware of the new word about to enter the world dictionaries – Nomophobia, referring to the fear of being without a phone (!!). It’s my worst nightmare, to be stuck on a beautiful island with a dead smartphone. What’s the point of beauty when it cannot be shared? Even Alexander Supertramp said so.
I have one barely tolerable, amazingly pedantic childhood friend who likes to share links to all sorts of quit-your-phone-addiction web pages. They instruct me to go to the countryside, which I do often but you know, nothing wrong with basic email access. They claim my fetish for connectivity can be cured if I meditate, but since I lack the ability to convert to Buddhism overnight I don’t see this working. Then there are simple tips like keeping phone on silent, which is, frankly, stupid. Achieves nothing. And ‘digital dieting’? Who’d want to miss out the brilliant memes following Shilpa Shetty’s literary reviews?
Okay yes, I’m addicted. I realise it every time I rattle off all the above reasons to my concerned friend. This is why an unassuming video by Miranda July caught my attention – A Handy Tip for the Easily Distracted – where she puts her most precious dress to heart-stopping risk just to stop herself from responding to the million beeps of different gadgets. Desperate times call for desperate measures, I can understand that. And I can guarantee it works wonders.
Below are my two bits to add to her rather intelligent analysis of the addiction situation:
Walk into a bar, preferably one with bar stools to minimise social interaction. Knock back 6 tequila shots. Read an article on cell phones as a possible cause for brain tumour. Pay the bill, walk out of the bar. Make sure you’re seeing double. Take in a deep breath, take out your smartphone, and throw it into the sea. It has to be swift, like this.
Set yourself some rules. Responding to more than 10 beeps in a day means you have to read 10 pages of an Ayn Rand book. While skipping 10 beeps could translate into a chilled pint of Bira. Yum.
Use your family. If you have a dramatic old aunt handy, leave instructions with them to not let you check your phone. Tell them that a new study has revealed the direct link of a smartphone with Yumdoot, that a beep will trigger supernatural forces by waking up the dead. It should inspire nothing less than this.
Create a new blog with statistical updates of the number of times you try to kick the addiction in a day.
Lastly, and really dejectedly, you could resort to switching to an un-smartphone and modify it with the hope to make it trendy enough to kickstart a new trend.