Okay, I’m the first to admit that I like posting my thoughts, opinions, etc., online. It’s fun. It’s a way to express yourself. And using fancy, schmancy words, it’s a way to “connect” with people. (One often needs to disconnect a time or two as well.)
And I pay for the privilege. I just charged the credit card $109.00 for yearly renewal of this site. But this isn’t a plea for contributions (but don’t let that stop you). I just thought full disclosure was needed before talking about “smartphone separation anxiety” as noted in this article: Smartphone separation anxiety is growing problem, says scientist
Note the “says scientists.” Well, they’re never wrong. And surely there must be some particle accelerator somewhere that has confirmed this anxiety beyond all doubt. Or you just type in a new name and instead of “Climate Models” you can get all those CPU cycles and algorithms working on “Smartphone Separation Anxiety.” Jiggle the numbers and you can come up with any answer you want.
But given that in some countries they have tried padding the utility poles on the streets so that phone zombies don’t hurt themselves by walking into them, we can take the idea of “smartphone separation anxiety” as a prima facie case.
But first, a good laugh. If you are living a significant portion of your life through Tweets and small nothings, you have a lot more to worry about than SSA. But technology is cool. There are all kinds of cool apps. And, honest to god, I still really don’t know what is so damn interesting on those phones that would make people walk into an intersection without looking up. And I’m assuming that not all of the time they are looking at porn.
What we really need is a government program to study this, and perhaps to regulate. One dimwit at National Review suggested, for instance, that to vanquish issues of free speech violations, Google, Facebook, etc., should be treated like utilities and regulated by the government.
One commentator got in a witty point:
"While I understand and share the concern about allowing government interference in private businesses, even those with monopoly power, we should not allow the conservative ship to be wrecked on the shoals of philosophical abstraction."
It's not a philosophical abstration, kids; it's a principle of governance - keep it limited. You sound like Boromir - "I'll use the One Ring for good, I promise!" Completely ignoring the reason why we keep government limited in the first place. And why the Ring has to be chucked into the Fires of Mount Doom.
Sorry, but I disagree. Emphatically. We can fight the good fight by using platforms that are intentionally and strongly supportive of free speech. Minds.com, vid.me, among many, many others.
Anyway, not that there are not abuses that might actually violate some good and reasonable law that already exists. But I say, if you don’t like Facebook or Google, use something else. Build something else. I’m now using (as much as I can) DuckDuckGo.com for searches because of that latest Google outrage.
But I digress. I think. Maybe I’ve developed Internet Stupidity Anxiety. Goodness gracious, there’s a lot of it out there. And it’s now connected at light speed. And there are many many specialized apps for stupid.
Anyway, back to the subject at hand. Here’s the money quote from the article:
“When users perceive smartphones as their extended selves, they are more likely to become attached to the devices, which, in turn, leads to nomophobia by heightening the phone proximity-seeking tendency,” he added.
I thought nomophobia was fear of disney animated movies about fish. But I get it about the “extended self” thing. I think the internet (and smartphones) obviously facilitate this. And whether trying to connect to God or to #share-separation-anxiety, the desire to connect with something larger than oneself is innate. I suppose connecting to God rather than Google is a nobler cause. But the more immediate and easier method is Google.
And this God of connection is immediate. We’re told that the trinitarian God loves us. But much more powerful are the various gods of social media where you can be “Liked.” God can love you only once. But you can be “Liked” hundreds of times.
Am I sneering at all this? Of course I am. If you have “smartphone separation anxiety” you are an idiot, plain and simple. Am I supposed to be more charitable toward the kinds of people who are causing civic alarm because they are regularly, and in fairly large numbers, hurting themselves because they are walking around like zombies paying attention to their phones and not traffic?
I end this by re-posting one of the comments to this article which makes some fair points:
Anyone who permits her/himself to become "dependent" on any electronic toy has a more serious underlying issue: the complete lack of a "life of the mind." (That, not necessarily their "fault," see below).
Substituting the reductive and often grossly skewed (but so "easy to access") "Answers" findable on a "smart"phone (or on the web overall—in place of research, in-depth reading, analysis, research and THINKING —produces humans who ARE addicted, jibbering idiots (also very easy to manipulate). "Smart"phones also substitute shallow fake-babble for emotional intimacy.
Sadly and by and large, our so-called "educational systems" continue to "train" grammar and high school students to become docile, obedient 19th century factory workers — at the same time that all this shallow techno-candy garbage SEEMS to be so "hip and relevant."
Today, entire generations of young people have never been exposed to actual education (i.e. training the mind to explore the world and know itself), and thus fall for the only available substitute ~ shallow and often fake information often provided by others equally ignorant or worse, pushing a self-serving point of view, all conveyed by the sharks of New (tech) capitalism, eager to extract maximum cash from the exceedingly unwary (and, being uneducated, highly gullible).
Ah modern times. Ain't they great!