‘Technology can also be the biggest party pooper of our lives. It interrupts our own story, interrupts our ability to have a thought or a daydream’ – Steven Spielberg
I’ll be the first to admit I’m on my phone a lot, probably more than I should be and I am a bit of a self confessed social media addict. It gets a bad press and there are certainly negative aspects to social media, for one I’m extremely thankful it wasn’t around when I was a teenager as I think I would have made what was a patchy high school experience even worse. I do however love the social aspect of it, I like that you can find out what Harry Styles had for breakfast (should you want to) and there are ways of keeping in touch with people or making you self heard that were never around 10 years ago.
The flip side of that is of course that it stops you being actually social in real life, if you’re looking at life through your phone screen all the time then you’re never really seeing it, or living it or experiencing it. So I read about a fun app called Phone Checker, which logs how many times in a day you check your phone, so you can see in black and white actually how much time you’re using it.
I downloaded the free app on a Sunday night with the hope to keep it on for a month or so. When you first download it you’re really conscious it’s there so purposefully don’t check as often as you might. So I figured eventually I’d forget it was there so the results would be more honest.
What would be really interesting would be to see how many checks are you reacting to something, like receiving a phone call or a text message and how much is just idly checking for the sake of checking but I suppose that kind of technology if probably a bit too much to ask of a free app!
Phone Tracker is really simple with very few interfaces. All it every shows you is how many times you’re checked your phone that day, how that compares to how many times you’ve checked on previous days, and an option to share to social media. That’s it. You get reminded every morning to check the previous day’s views – and if you don’t it doesn’t log them and will add them on to that days views, which is an annoying feature. Also clicking on the graph icon just seems to take you back to the the play store rather than show you any data analysis – and i’m a real graphs and stats geek so find that frustratingly odd. Aside from that it pretty much does what it says on the tin.
The results were interesting if not that surprising. I check my phone almost double the amount at weekends that I do on week days, which will largely be due to the fact that my phone usually stays in my handbag whilst I’m at work, but also, at weekends you’re doing stuff you want to take pictures of/text someone about/tweet about so it makes sense you’d be on your phone more often.
Nottingham Trent University did a study where they monitored a group of 18 to 33 year olds and found that they checked their phone on average of 85 times a day, so when you compare that to my weekly average of around 60 times a day It doesn’t make me feel so bad, then again I am two years out of their research age so perhaps that’s high for 35 year olds?!
Has it made me more wart of looking at my phone so often? To be honest not really, all its done is made me aware. It has made me think more seriously about having a social media ban for a weekend though, which is an idea I’ve toyed with for a while now however I’m not quite sure I’m ready for that yet!