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Trash Talking...

A few weeks ago, the teenager and I had a blow out. A real bluey. A shouting match, which neither won. About what? Well, on the teenage argument spectrum in can only be about one of a handful of topics; girlfriends no, friends no, school or homework no, care of his room and belongings no, it just simply had to be the source of all modern day angst, the mobile phone or as it's more commonly called the 'smart phone'.

What's so smart about it? The fact it has made us addicts to a screen? So much so, it's affecting every single facet of life. One can't even go to the loo without taking a phone with you? What are we doing, wiping our posteriors on them like some sort of reusable rigid cleanser? No, it's to occupy the two, three or ten minutes whilst we are engaged with a rudimentary, daily, yet boring (down-time) activity?

I was at odds with myself when I organised and purchased it a couple of years ago but at the time I felt like I had an issue and was struggling to resolve it. My ex and I separated over eight years ago now and the idea was to use the mobile to keep in touch with my children as the usual form of communication was reticently available. Even now despite trying to keep in touch, the calls are either ghosted, messages left unread or left unreplied. Admittedly, it causes doubts. Now, those doubts turn ever more towards their welfare, Is a smart phone a good thing for a child to have? The sites they can access, The potential for online bullying, The addiction to gaming, just simply the addiction to the phone itself. What are we as adults helping to promote? Would you feed your child 3 McDonalds a day because they wanted it, why do we allow (in some instances) our children up to (on average) 3 hours a day of mobile phone use?

Here's some stats

  1. Compared to teens who only spend an hour on electronic devices daily, teens who spend five or more hours a day on electronic devices are 71% more likely to exhibit suicide risk factors. 

  2. 47% of parents surveyed believe their child has a smartphone addiction

  3. In the 18 to 29-year-old age category, 22% of smartphone-using respondents admitted to checking their device every few minutes. If that doesn’t say phone addiction, what does?

  4. Of parents surveyed in the UK, 46% said they “feel addicted” to their mobile devices.

  5. Rather than in-person interaction, 33% of teens spend more time socializing with close friends online.

  6. 52% of teens sit for long periods of time in silence, on their smartphones, while hanging out with friends.

  7. 66% of the population shows signs of nomophobia, the fear of being without your phone.

  8. The average time spent on smartphones a day is 2 hours and 51 minutes. 

  9. The average smartphone owner will click, tap or swipe their phone 2,617 times a day.

  10. When leaving their phones at home, 50% of respondents feel uneasy.

  11. 26% of accidents involving cars are caused by cell phone use while driving.

  12. While 58% of smartphone users have admitted to trying to limit their device usage, only 41% succeeded in lessening their cell phone usage.

  13. 87% of smartphone users check their devices within an hour of going to sleep or waking up.

But, the problem is that we need mobiles, for general day to day life, they are not going away. Am I any different to anyone else? Perhaps not, but we're not helping one another, attitudes have changed during and since Covid. In my opinion, we're not so kind, and we're not so bothered, we seem apathetic. Whatever happened to the protests for rights in the 70s and 80s (poll tax, general strikes, miners strikes) I'm not saying it was right or wrong but now whatever we are spoon-fed, we consume. Why would the nurses and doctorts put up with risking their lives during the pandemic only for the pots and pans to be rung hollow by the government just a short year later? All of the corruption, the lies, the scandal, the absolutely appalling behaviour, something somewhere does not add up? What have I done, nothing? What have you done, probably nothing too? Surely, something, somewhere has to change but how? I'll take responsibility for what I can, I'll do my bit. The smart-phones hours are numbered in this home. I'm convinced that phones are just a clever way of 'consumerised' control?

Or could it be something else? That we think that we really are now so smart, we've worked out how, because we've (most of us) have two eyes we could potentially watch two things at the same time and double our viewing pleasure?

It might be that we are just oh so busy and such important people we can't bear to be away from our next biggest deal, we can after all trade and invest online. Just last week I saw a high flying executive (don't judge a book by it's cover), a 60 year old lady in her beat up Honda Civic holding up a queue of traffic after the drivers in front of her had moved forward at the green lights, pre-occupied by some important message she was replying to. Just five minutes later three high flying executives in their white transit van with a 62 registration plate were so busy making their next trade, or checking in on a life or death, emergency situation that they almost missed the red light they had started to go through anticipating the change in the lights, just as they were anticipating a change in their stocks increasing before they could sell, sell, sell (or cell, cell, cell). Even a student of mine said 'So, what?' when I pointed out that the driver of the car next to us was using their phone whilst in queueing traffic? This person has their test in less than a month and they already think that to use a phone in traffic, it's okay? I wonder if their parents do it? In fact I know of one parent of a high achiever who recently said that when supervising their child (yes under 18, in charge of a vehicle and who hasn't passed their test), they feel so comfortable with their learner driver child they get on their mobile and let them get on with it. Where's six points when you need them?

Did you know that we can now submit dashcam footage direct to the police? I'll be doing so in future. I'm so sick and tired of the lack of care shown by some drivers that if I need to go out of my way to help the Police and try to keep the roads safer, I will do, Nextbase might not be the answer but it's a start, after all who wants this as part of our children's lives or to see this on our roads?

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