Is Mobile phone Driving us Mad?
- Kamran Mofid
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"I refuse to use a mobile phone and I'm all the happier for it"
On 20 December 2012 I wrote a blog under the title of “Is the Web Driving Us Mad?”. Let me quote a passage or two from it, much relevant to today’s blog:
“The other day, I “Successfully” de-activated my Facebook account. I say “Successfully”, because Facebook does not make it easy to say good bye, even though I was just trying a short-term separation and not a divorce! At least for now.
You know, given human weaknesses to addiction, that is any form of addiction, I thought I was watching me and watching you to see if you were watching me, a bit too much: Watching who likes or unlike whatever I post there. As if one click here or there is enough for me to know how good or bad I am doing!
My mind was going “digital” and I was becoming “virtual”: And I said to myself, Hey Kamran, watch where you are going man!
I thought I needed a time out, a time for some reflection and soul-searching. I do not know if you, too, are facing the same or not. But, here we go, I just discovered an article: “Is the Web Driving Us Mad?” that I want to share with you.”…
I suppose some may say that I may be a bit strange, going against the tides of modernity and progress! OK, I understand. But today I am happy that I have found two other allies sharing the same with me.
One is the journalist John Naish and the other Professor Paul Dolan, an expert in psychology at the London School of Economics.
John writes that, “According to conventional wisdom, as a journalist I should be permanently plugged in to all the newest versions of every available communications gadget, sifting all the latest data like a good little information drone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The trouble is, when would I ever find the space or time to stop, digest and reflect on every flashing, beeping, sensational thing that had flooded into my head?
And when would I ever get the chance to relax properly, to allow my body and mind to restore themselves and for my imagination to run - essential for any kind of creative work?
But whenever I try to explain this to anyone, I notice in their eyes a mixture of worry and condescension that says: 'Weirdo.'”
John then tells us about his happiness when he notes the study by Prof. Dolan, who has warned that the everyday stress of using mobile phones may be sending us mad.
According to Dolan, we'd all be much more content if we turned off our mobiles and concentrated on friends and family rather than impulsively checking emails and text messages.
Enjoying human company is more rewarding than repeatedly looking at your phone, Professor Dolan told the Hay Festival.
He worries that the popularity of smartphones sees users constantly having their attention diverted from the people around them and towards these devices.
He further warns that unless people change their behaviour, they are putting themselves at risk of mental illness. This can develop, he believes, as a result of the constant nervous stress of checking phones and the distraction of switching their attention from one thing to another.
Professor Dolan isn't alone in blaming our addiction to smartphones for a range of modern ills.
In fact, just carrying the device around can cause chronic stress. This is amply shown by the rise of a common hallucination called 'phantom phone vibration syndrome'.
This, says Jeffrey Janata, director of behavioural medicine at University Hospitals in Cleveland, is an illusory sensation that your mobile phone is vibrating in your pocket when, in fact, no one is calling.
The mobile phone may not even be in your pocket. The false sensation is the result of constantly being in a state of anticipation, eternally expecting a call or text message.
There is even something called mobile phone insomnia - sleeplessness caused by the disruption of brainwaves during mobile-phone calls made before you go to bed.
James Horne and colleagues at Loughborough University's Sleep Research Centre have found that making mobile phone calls in the evening can dramatically reduce your chances of falling asleep easily.”…
Believe me. Surprise yourself. Give it a try: go a bit Facebook-less, moble phon-less. You never know, you might even enjoy yourself and all those around you.
Is the Web Driving Us Mad?