Me and my iBlankey
you can update your Facebook status, you can even phone people.
‘‘All those things are things we generally consider good things, rewards, and they’re all very easily accessible by picking up your phone.’’
Dr Cowie said because it is difficult to predict when a Facebook ‘like’, or an email, or something else rewarding is going to happen, we tend to pick up the phone more frequently.
When it came to using your phone to hide in social situations, Dr Cowie said it came back to the idea of the phone offering rewards.
‘‘You’re faced with a choice; you’re in a room full of people you don’t necessarily know, talking to them. To some people that’s exciting but for others that’s always a bit uncomfortable and it’s always risky, whereas being on your smartphone there’s a guaranteed source of some sort of reward.
‘‘By engaging with your smartphone you’re also avoiding standing there like an idiot. It’s kind of like, ‘I’ve got something to do, I’m answering this very important email, I don’t look lonely’.’’
Away from social settings, having an iPhone has also affected my attention span – big time.
I mean, in the past couple of hours alone while trying to write this I’ve darted off to Facebook, Instagram, read an article about how to make yourself exercise when depressed, browsed Spotlight’s website to look at curtains, and contemplated going to an event about a guy raising money by eating a Big Mac in one bite.
It’s the same with movies. The thought of having to concentrate on one thing for almost two hours is something I just can’t comprehend anymore.
In September Apple released an iPhone iOS update that included a feature which monitors your screen time. My average screen time is two hours and 29 minutes per day.
A few minutes on Facebook, a few more on Instagram, checking Snapchats, browsing Pinterest, searching TradeMe. It all adds up.
That number would be even higher, however, if computer screen time was taken into consideration.
Apple’s reasoning for introducing the screen time feature was so people could better understand and manage their device usage.
‘‘By understanding how they’re interacting with their iOS devices, people can take control of how much time they spend in a particular app, website or category of apps,’’ the Apple website states.
‘‘The ‘app limits’ feature allows people to set a specific amount of time to be in an app, and a notification will display when a time limit is about to expire."
Will awareness of how much time we spend on our phones change anything, though?
I’m not sure. I’ll ponder it as I stand in the corner at a work Christmas party this weekend hiding behind my iPhone.