Georgie Powell founder of SPACE app, a behaviour change programme, outlines the growing issue of smartphone dependency and how forward-thinking companies can help employees to engage with technology more meaningfully
When we use technology consciously it enables us to connect, create and learn. But for many, our smartphones have become a habit which causes us to miss out on meaningful engagement in the real world. We also miss the creativity that comes in idle moments, when our mind is free to wander.
This problem – using smartphones to the detriment of other aspects of our life – has been termed ‘nomophobia’ – a recognised psychological condition prescribed to people who sense fear or anxiety at the thought of being separated from their phone. Users are waking up to this condition.
Deloitte have found that almost two fifths of population perceive that they are using their device too much. This is significantly higher amongst 35-44 year olds (47%), 25-34 year olds (55%) and 16-24 year olds (56%). In the same report, Deloitte found smartphone behaviours are distracting users, harming their relationships with others and even potentially endangering their health or that of other people’s.
Independent research from SPACE, a digital wellness app, has found that amongst these groups, there is a strong sense of emotion associated with phones, with 28% of users feeling anxious if they are without their phone (compared with the 6% who feel happy).