The cell phone has been around since the 1980’s and has given us ways of staying connected that past generations could only imagine. Cell phones and pagers were originally used largely for work purposes, and were utilized first by doctors, CEOs and the likes. As cell phone technology advanced and became more accessible, however, our relationship as a society with cell phones changed dramatically. They became a commodity (some would even say a toy) and reached an unprecedented level of demand. A cell phone is now as in demand as transportation vehicles are. They are a necessary part of most working adult’s lives and many people end up in a lifestyle where a cell phone is not optional.
The difference between a cell phone and other utilitarian belongings is its pleasure producing abilities and its pervasiveness. Smart phone technology turned what was once a basic communications device into an entertainment center. Smart phones have all the features of a computer, including internet, games, media and every form of digital communication. They are enjoyable as well as functional. In addition, they are highly portable and can go virtually anywhere on a person. This makes detaching from them unlikely.
Throughout history, anywhere one could find something that is both pleasurable and easily accessible, one can find addiction. Addiction can have many faces – severe or minor, threatening or benign, obvious or subtle – but will still meet the criteria of addiction. In the same way, anything we interact with in life can also be abused, in a way similar to how a substance is abused. In the case of a cell phone, someone may not be addicted, but texting while driving is certainly an abuse of a cell phone because it can have disastrous consequences. But in the case of a spouse who repeatedly does not even speak to their partner during meals because of how engrossed in their phone they are, the term “addiction” can apply.
An addiction is any situation where a person becomes obsessed with a behavior, item or substance to the extent that their lives are negatively affected. While a cell phone addiction may seem minor in comparison to a drug addiction, it is still an unhealthy life choice, and should be remedied. Take whatever steps are necessary to end your cell phone addiction, even if it entails seeking addiction counseling. Balance is the key to a happy, successful life, and nothing will throw off balance faster than addiction.