Whether you like them or not, you can't deny smartphones are a huge part of all of our daily lives. But sometimes the attachment to our phones can feel a little, well, scary. They seem to be forever at our sides like loyal pets, and if you're like me, your phone is often the last thing you look at before bed, and the first thing you look at when you wake up in the morning. When you think about it that way, it's not so ridiculous to question whether millennials are actually addicted to their phones, or if this attachment is more of a harmless sign of the times. Well, according to a new survey, there are apparently a lot of things in our day-to-day lives, like shampoo, that some of us would give up just to keep our phones within arm's reach. It sounds almost romantic, right? Except it really, really isn't.
The survey, which comes from the phone service app Visible, asked over 1,000 cell phone users in the U.S. between the ages of 18 and 34 a whole slew of questions about their phones to see just how far the attachment to these devices really goes.
According to the results, 72 percent of people surveyed said they would be willing to ditch their phone for a week rather than give up their pet for the same amount of time. I mean, at least people seem to have a stronger relationship with their fur babies than with their smartphones — that's kind of reassuring, right?
Still, at the same time, 77 percent of people surveyed said they would "gladly give up caffeine" instead of their phone for a week, which I personally cannot relate to at all.
Like, I get it, kind of: For so many of us, our phones are literally our lifelines. They help connect you with friends and family no matter how many miles may separate you, they deliver your news at a moment's notice, and they help you stay organized when your to-do list is just too extensive to write down by hand. But like, don't y'all need caffeine to function? 'Cause I certainly do, even if it's just tea instead of coffee. I don't know, man.
But it's not just caffeine that millennials would give up in order to keep their hands on their phones. The Visible survey also found that 54 percent of people would be willing to part with their Netflix account for an entire month if it meant they wouldn't have to be separated from their phone for a week. Again, I don't think I can relate to that one. I love binging The Office over and over again way too much, guys.
Now, rest assured, when given the choice between giving up their phone or their toothbrush for a week, 83 percent of those surveyed said they'd be willing to part with their phone instead of their dental hygiene. That's reassuring, although it still makes you wonder about that other 17 percent, right? What do you guys have against brushing your teeth, huh?
Look, it's no secret that you and I are living in a world where these devices are pretty necessary. But that doesn't mean the way we use smartphones should take over our lives and veer toward an actual phone addiction, which is a real thing, BTW.
In fact, one study actually looked at the effect of "iPhone separation" on the cognition, emotion, and physiology of young people who were asked to give up their phones for a little while.
In the study, which was published in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, researchers found, when the participants weren't allowed to answer their ringing phone while trying to complete a word search puzzle, their "heart rate and blood pressure increased," as did their "self‐reported feelings of anxiety and unpleasantness." In other words, people tend to have a really tough time focusing and going about their usual, daily tasks when they're not able to check their phone as regularly as they'd like. So yeah, that's not great.
What's more, other studies have started looking at the connection between rising rates of depression and the use of technology. Specifically, research published in the journal Clinical Psychological Science found that young people who spend a lot of their free time on social media and on their smartphones "were more likely to report mental health issues," while those who spend their free time on "nonscreen activities," such as face-to-face social interaction, sports, homework, and even attending religious services, were less likely to report such mental health issues.
So what can be done about our rather codependent relationship with our phones, especially since it's one of the main ways in which we communicate these days?
No, you don't have to smash your phone to smithereens with a hammer like Ron Swanson in Parks And Rec. According to counselor and relationship expert David Bennett, a great way to start having a healthier relationship with your phone is to set some limitations in your tech usage in your day-to-day life. "I suggest setting boundaries with friends, co-workers, and significant others," Bennett tells Elite Daily. "Let them know that not responding immediately doesn't mean you're ignoring them or mad. It means that you may have other things you're occupied with that are necessary for you to be happy."
Bennett also recommends finding a balance between really enjoying the moment you're in, and the desire to record and broadcast that moment on social media. In other words, not everything you do needs to be showcased on your Instagram story.
"In the end, you're probably not going to listen to your 10 minutes of low-quality recordings of a concert, and your friends really don't want to listen to it either," he says. "So, immerse yourself in the moment more than documenting it."