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Kagan: Smartphone addiction takes life out of living

We have a very serious problem which I fear will have a long-term impact on our society. As an analyst, you know I love the world of smartphones, wireless, telecom and technology. That being said, I have learned that smartphones have two sides. One side gives us instant access to information and communications wherever we are. This improves our lives. The other side is addictive and can ultimately ruin not only our lives, but our society.

Look around and you will become increasingly disturbed to see everyone staring into their smartphone rather than interacting with their children, their spouses, their friends and the world around them.

We’ve all seen funny YouTube clips of people staring into their smartphone and walking into a fountain or a wall. It’s funny, but it’s also very sad and disturbing. Is this what we are all turning into as a society?

Smartphones take the life out of living

Too many of us let our smartphones take the life out of living.

Consider the family vacation at the beach. This is where families and friends get together, but today they are not together. I see mothers walking on the beach with their baby strollers and their kids, but they are staring into their smartphones.

The same thing in restaurants when families sit together. We see this kind of disconnected behavior everywhere. Or students in schools. Are they learning or just texting? Many are just lost in space.

We need to teach our kids the successful rules of life and not just let them veg-out in their smartphones like they do today. If not, we will have a generation of depression and failure in life. And it could have all been prevented.

First four years are most important in childhood development

What is all this saying? Are the friends they are texting or things they are reading more important than their own children? If you ask anybody, they would say, of course not. However, that’s exactly what is happening today.

What happens when their kids get to be teenagers and they haven’t learned all the important lessons from their Mom and Dad about life? The lonely and confused teens will learn from their friends. Or maybe they will do something dangerous to scar their lives forever. We’ve all heard the stories.

As parents, that’s the last thing we want because we all know what kids learn from each other. It’s not what you would have taught them if your attention wasn’t diverted.  Left alone, kids will be lost in space in their own worlds.

I have heard countless times that the first four years are the most important for childhood development. This is when the parent’s impact is most crucial. This is when you can mold the mind of your child to think properly and be successful in their lives as they grow up.

The next several years are also important as parents steer their children and teach them how to stay on the right path. This is what we have always done for our children. This is what being a parent is all about.

However, things seem to be changing today.

If you are not paying full attention to your kids and if you are stuck in your smartphone, you are not doing your job. And if you are not doing your job with your kids, don’t complain when things go wrong when they get older.

And things always will go wrong later if you are not there as their parent especially in their formative years.

We are addicted to smartphones and apps

While much of this is the fault of us as individuals, much of the problem comes from the technology itself. Tech is created to get us addicted to it. That’s great for company growth. That’s good for investors and workers as the entire industry continues to grow.

However, from the perspective of the human being, it is not good. In fact, it is wrong, dangerous and destructive to individuals and to society. Technology starts to addict our children and continues as they grow. It’s not something that we are aware of, yet it happens to everyone.

That’s one reason why people today feel so alone today. The problem is we don’t interact with each other because of smartphones, computers, social networks and so much more.

We think having a list of “friends” on social networks is good, but these are not real friends. This is confusing to them as they struggle to understand their place in the world and what real relationships are.

While we all know, there is a good side and a bad side to everything. The good side is this new technology puts the answers to questions at our fingertips. It lets us keep in touch with our loved ones and friends and much more. That’s why smartphones and technology is great. Granted.

Smartphone addiction is like opioid addiction

The problem is the other side of the coin. The side that invades our privacy, that steers political thought and that gets us addicted to technology.

It’s not unlike the Opioid addiction problem we face as a people that has destroyed countless lives, we can’t afford to wait years to fix this problem. We must act now before this smartphone revolutions destroys countless lives.

I love smartphones. I love following the technology as it grows and advances. I love following the companies in their journey. However, we can’t be blind. We must be smart about this. We must use this technology as a tool, not as a crutch.

Smartphone makers must join battle to help with growing problem

That means smartphone and app makers must be participants in this journey. That’s a big job, but it’s so important for us to keep our society in check going forward.

It’s time we stand-up and take our lives back. It’s time we take charge and stop letting technology rule our lives. It’s time we fight back!

And we need the help of tech companies. They got us into this jam, and we need them to help us get out. They need to stop making technology so addictive. They need to give us tools to fight the addiction we already have.

This idea needs to be marketed like a new product or device. We don’t want to rely on the heavy hand of government. We want this to be a partnership between the company the investor the worker and the user.

However, if companies don’t solve this problem, eventually the government will step in and that’s always too big a footprint.

If we don’t solve this problem now, on our own, it will continue to grow, and I am worried about where it will ultimately take us and our children as a society. That kind of future may be very disabling, lonely and sad. Unless we wake up and start doing the right thing today.

That’s my opinion. I welcome yours.

ABOUT AUTHOR

Jeff Kagan
Jeff Kaganhttp://jeffkagan.com
Jeff is a RCR Wireless News Columnist, Industry Analyst, Key Opinion Leader and Influencer. He shares his colorful perspectives and opinions on the companies and technologies that are transforming the industry he has followed for 35 years. Jeff follows wireless, wire line telecom, Internet, Pay-TV, cable TV, AI, IoT, Digital Healthcare, Cloud, Mobile Pay, Smart cities, Smart Homes and more.

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