Posted on March 24, 2017 by staff

Are you addicted to your smartphone?


“My name is Chris Maguire and I have an addiction.”

They say the hardest part of an addiction is admitting you have a problem and I’m putting mine out there for all to see.

I’m not addicted to smoking, alcohol or drugs. I definitely eat too much chocolate but it’s manageable and I’m too British to be a sex addict so what is my vice?

The answer is my smartphone. I’M ADDICTED TO MY SMARTPHONE.

Writing it in capital letters seems to make it more real, like it’s a proper addiction.

I reached this conclusion while watching Mike Ryan, founder of Fusion Futures, on the stage at Pro-Manchester’s Digital Disruption conference.

“As we become more connected to technology, we become less connected to people,” he said. “Wow, that’s deep,” I thought and promptly tweeted about it in less than 140 characters.

To be honest I was lucky I heard him at all because I was so busy looking at the Twitter hashtag from the event I barely lifted my head from my screen to pay full attention to the speakers. I actually feel quite ashamed admitting this but it’s true.

So when did my addiction start? The answer is I don’t know exactly but it’s taken hold as technology has improved. When my Nokia phone only made calls I had no reason to look at it other than for the odd text message.

Now I check it all the time to look for news alerts; BBC; Daily Mail; WhatsApp messages (I  have five accounts); Twitter (I manage six accounts); Facebook; LinkedIn; emails (work and private); take photos and videos; check calendar; listen to podcasts; use sat nav; and a lot more besides.

The thing is, I think my smartphone addiction has been misdiagnosed. I’m a busy guy and I’m incredibly nosey / curious. I like to know what’s going on in the world. I’ve been an editor for 11 years so I have to be contactable with my staff and accessible to my readers. It’s an easy excuse to hide behind.

At times my addiction to my smartphone has been a bit of a running joke. In 2012 I was lucky enough to be in the Olympic Stadium to watch the London Olympics. It was an amazing experience and when the TV cameras panned around the crowd my children spotted me because I was next to my wife and my head was down looking at my smartphone.

One of the best experiences of my life – and I was probably checking how many people had liked my latest tweet!

I know I have 3,789 followers on my (main) Twitter account; 3,484 connections on LinkedIn; and 176 friends on Facebook.  That adds up to 7,449 people  / acquaintances. I know it adds up to that because I’ve just used the app on my smartphone to work it out.

I’m very fond of these 7,449 people but I get more love, joy and attention from the three people closest to me and that’s my wife and two daughters. And yet, and this is the nub of the issue, how much of me do they miss out on because I’m ‘too busy’ on my smartphone?

I was looking at the images of the terror attack at Westminster this week and there were pictures of people taking selfies. How sad is that? How long will it be before someone takes a video of a man drowning because they can’t see the lifebelt in front of them?

Innocent people are dying every day because motorists are texting someone or replying to a WhatsApp post. I for one was glad when the government doubled the number of penalty points for drivers caught using their phones to six.

So have you got an addition to your smartphone? Answer these eight questions:

Q1: Do you look at your smartphone last thing at night or first thing in the morning?

Q2: Do you look at sporting events or concerts through the camera of your smartphone rather than enjoying the moment?

Q3: Do you check the number of likes and retweets your posts get on Facebook or social media as soon as you finish dinner?

Q4: Do you find yourself looking at your phone when you could be enjoying family time?

Q5: Do you panic when you realise you’ve left your phone at home or in the car?

Q6: Do you have an irrational reaction to the smartphone battery getting below 20 per cent?

Q7: Do you find yourself looking at your phone between meetings or when you’re walking somewhere?

Q8: Do you ask for the WiFi password at a hotel or restaurant before you’ve said hello to the receptionist?

If you’ve answered yes to more than half of these I would suggest you’ve got a problem but you know that already because you wouldn’t have read this far if you didn’t have an issue.

If you’re still not sure check out the YouTube video below.

Watch the video and ask yourself one final question: Could the person in the video be me?