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Living without a mobile device

Thoughts from Behind the Pressline

There is a divide among people and it’s becoming larger everyday — those who can’t live without a mobile device and those who do not own one. It’s estimated that approximately 73 percent of the world’s population has access to a mobile device — either a smart phone, cell phone or tablet.

While these devices are our modern day marvels one has to wonder if humanity will be changed for the better as a result of these powerful little gadgets or if they’ll eventually take over our lives and we become slaves to a machine. A new phenomena is spreading called nomophobiacs: No Mobile Phone Phobia. In a recent survey about 66 percent of those questioned suffer from this new phobia, affecting women at a greater rate than men.

Another survey found that 50 percent of those responding feel anxious when they do not have their phone within reach. And it’s no wonder when we think about how many times in the day we reach for them. On average it’s about 34 times a day but another survey reports a higher percentage at once every 10 minutes. When asked which item people would retrieve from a burning house it wasn’t the wallet, purse, passport or family pictures — it was the mobile. While it may seem we are a little too compulsive when it comes to our mobile device, for many among us, the device now encompasses all aspects of personal and business life. Far more important than a wallet or even pictures, all of which can now be contained inside the powerful device.

My concern isn’t the infatuation with the useful tool, I’m more concerned about how they will be used as we move forward. In a recent Nielsen survey, in households owning a tablet and with children under the age of 12, 70 percent of those children use the computer tablet — 77 percent for playing games; 57 percent for educational purposes; 43 percent to watch a movie or TV show and 41 percent to entertain the child while at a restaurant or event. The real concern is, are we turning these devices into high-tech babysitters?

Dan Alexander is publisher and CEO of Denton Publications. He may be reached at dan@denpubs.com.

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