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Virtual World vs Reality: Cell Phone Addiction

New York parents are constantly looking at their cell phones. It drives their kids crazy. This was taken on Sheridan Square near Stabrucks in Greenwich Village. Photo Credit: Ed Yourdon
New York parents are constantly looking at their cell phones. It drives their kids crazy. This was taken on Sheridan Square near Stabrucks in Greenwich Village. Photo Credit: Ed Yourdon

Cell phones are ruining relationships among the current generation, especially teens.

Mike King, 19, experiences communication problems with his friends.

“I will go out to dinner with a group of four of my friends, and at least two of them are on their phone,” King said. “It is a contagion effect, once one person pulls out there phone, at least one other person does as well.”

King said his polite hints to his friends to put their phones away go ignored.

“It is really annoying, I feel like whatever they are looking at on their phones is more important than spending quality time together,” he said.

King added that he believes situations such as these are perfect examples of how technology is ruining our ability to maintain meaningful relationships with each other.

Cell phones are also a hazardous time waster.

Female college students spend about 10 hours a day on their cell phones, while men college students spend nearly 8 hours per day, according to a Baylor University study on cell phone activity.

Having this much dependency on your phone can weaken academic performance and relationships, the study said.

“Sixty percent of college students admit they may be addicted to their cell phone, even getting agitated when it is not in sight,”said James Roberts, Ph. D., who is the lead author of the article, “The Invisible Addiction: Cell phone Activities and Addiction Among Male and Female College Students.”

There will inevitably be consequences if we continue this ever growing trend of constantly being connected to the world through our phones.

While some may think family, friends, and significant others always being able to reach each other during any hour of the day may be a convenient perk in today’s latest technology, on the other end of the spectrum, it can ruin these relationships, according to Chicago citizens.

Lora Anderson, 22, describes how her cell phone ruined her most recent romantic relationship.

“It really created unnecessary trust issues for us,” Anderson said. “He would text me throughout the entire day, and if I took more than 15 minutes to respond to a text, he would constantly call my phone until I picked up to see where I was at. If I was taking a nap, in class or just not by my phone at the moment, I would be accused of cheating or talking to other men.”

Anderson said she finally had to end the toxic relationship because of her boyfriend’s controlling behavior.

“I feel like if there were no cell phones, we would not be having this problem,” she said.

Professionals think that cell phone addiction is very similar to other popular addictions.

John O’Neill, the director of addictions services at the Menninger Clinic in Houston, Texas, told Reuters that he thinks people, who are addicted to their phones, share some of the same components as people who become addicted to alcohol and drugs.

Some people cannot put down their phone even when there are consequences, O’Neill said.

Debbie Carter, 45, said she believes teenagers and young adults of our generation are too dependent on their cell phones.

“My daughter, who is 20 and has been driving for three years, doesn’t know how to get anywhere without her gps on her phone,” Carter said. “Not only have I told her to stop using her phone while driving due to safety issues, but she cannot even remember how to get to her friend’s house (who she visits regularly) without gps.”

Carter explained that in her daughter’s early years of driving, she had to remember street names, know the directions south, north, east and west, or ask a stranger if she were lost.

“People don’t even need to use their brains anymore, we are all robots being controlled by a phone telling us what to do,” she said.

Instead of taking part in a hobby, going for a walk outside, or making plans to get together with family or friends, users spend hours on the applications on our phone instead. Some said, this can make lives less productive or not as fulfilling as they could be.

Megan Thompson, 23, admits to documenting her entire day on snapchat every day of the week.

“I will take videos in class, when I am out with friends, and when I am at home,” Thompson said. “I never really considered it being a problem because everyone does it.”

She even explained how she does not need to ask what her friends did on the weekend because she already knows from viewing their snapchat stories.

“It kind of takes the fun out of asking them,” she said.

A number of Chicago citizens said they feel as though they are being disconnected with those around them due to their cell phones, but they don’t know how to put an end to the constant use of cellphones, which are not going away anytime soon.

But Mike Collins, 34, had his own solution.

“My advice would be to just put your phone down during dinner or having a fun night at a friend’s house,” Collins said.

Doing so can make a big difference, he added.

“More memories will be gained with people who truly matter which is more important than informing random acquaintances on how great of a time you are having,” Collins said.

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