MAY 2014

Volume 9

NO.  5



The Nicotine of Smart Phone Addiction



Deficit of Public Trust Still Looms Large

Social and Technology Revolutions Converge


Does Anyone Care?









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The Nicotine of Smart Phone Addiction



In today's world, we are constantly attempting to shield ourselves from things in life that we might consider harmful. Whether it's alcohol, drugs or highly addictive behaviors, it seems as though we all have our opinions about addiction and each provide our own insight as to how not to become addicted.


However, what many fail to consider is that one of the most addictive, habit-forming objects is also one of the most accessible, and may even be in the palm of your hand right now. It's your smartphone. The usage of smartphones alone in America is astounding, never mind other devices such as tablets, and laptops. A 2012 Pew Research Center survey shows that the number of adults who own a smartphone alone increased from 25% to 46% in just one year, from 2011 to 2012.


Recent studies suggest that smartphone use should be classified by the traditional definitions of addiction. According to Ira Hyman of Psychology Today, this definition includes symptoms such as increased tolerance, withdrawal after stopping use, increased use, inability to cut back, reduction of competing behaviors and engaging in the behavior despite risks. More recently, researchers Lapointe, Boudreau-Pinsonneault, and Baghefi of McGill University point to a new form of addiction, IT addiction. This is defined at the "dependency to a technology that results in its excessive and compulsive use", which is obviously widespread. In this study, 15.38% of respondents were defined as "addicts", using their phones on average of 5.24 hours per day. They also point to "copycat" users, who interact with mobile phones on average of 3.73 hours per day, and represent 25.73% of the group. This means that the copycats and addicts represent over 41% of respondents. Some individuals even used their phones for 20 hours in a single day!


The consequences of IT addiction range from poor school performance, family conflicts and work problems, depression and loneliness. According to another December 2013 study in Taiwan, researchers Lee, Chang, Lin and Cheng found that this dependency "leads to mental health symptoms such as sleep disturbance and depression." Many users also report feelings of anxiety.


The harmful psychological and social effects of smartphone overuse are prevalent in day-to-day life, according to McGill University research. Many describe their smartphone as "a companion", and one respondent even states, "I never leave home without it. I even sleep with it in my hand." When it comes to family and work conflicts, another states, "People get mad sometimes when you do not give them your full attention because you're on your phone."


Alarming statistics of smartphone use:

(Susan Davis' Addicted to Your Smartphone? Here's What to Do for WebMD)

  • 72% of users use their smartphone at work
  • 66% of users use their smartphone during social gatherings
  • 70% check within an hour of getting up
  • 56% check within an hour of going to sleep
  • 48% over the weekend, including Friday and Saturday nights


Shockingly, in a recent report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that as many as 21% of vehicular crashes were the result of drivers talking on either a hand-held or hands-free mobile device.


Why are smartphones so addicting for Americans? Why is it that we can so easily label them as companions? Psychologist David Greenfield of West Hartford, Connecticut says in the above WebMD article that the quick satisfaction felt by reading that email you were waiting for, or from receiving a text message is similar to the satisfaction that one feels when they use a slot machine. According to Greenfield, "We're seeking that pleasurable hit." It's an addiction.


Do these IT addicts sound just like you? If that's the case, it may be time to rethink the importance of your smart phone in your life. Some suggestions for cutting back are:


  1. Go one day without your cell phone. If you know you will be at work with access to a computer or landline, leave it in your drawer at home.
  2. If your job requires the use of your smartphone, set a daily limit for yourself. Turn your cell phone off from 8pm (not on vibrate, or silent, but OFF) until 8am.
  3. Set your smartphone to silent to prevent disruptions while spending time with family and friends.
  4. Delete the apps that you find the most tempting and habit-forming, or at least put them on the last page of your phone.
  5. Zip your phone in your briefcase or purse, and store the bag in your backseat or trunk for the duration of a car ride.


Finally, some people may ask: "If my co-workers are always connected and reachable via their smartphones, why shouldn't I be too?" In a world where everyone is always chatting and the beeping and buzzing of iPhones is all around us, compulsive cell phone use could be the new normal. While this may be true, it's essential to remember the importance of face-to-face interactions, or even a phone call as opposed to a text or email. Plus, emailing can be done on computers, phone calls on landlines, and Flappy Bird or Candy Crush Saga can be substituted for family game nights.


Everyone can benefit from at least a few of the above suggestions, so this month, take one day, or maybe a few, to turn off your smartphone. Take the time to call your best friend or your mom. Enjoy an afternoon walk. Get to bed 30 minutes earlier. Plan a family movie or game night. It might just help us all feel a little more personally connected.

Haley Garner


Deficit of Public Trust Still Looms Large

Social and Technology Revolutions Converge


Does Anyone Care?



There is a huge deficit of trust in business by Americans that continues to be covered by major business media. It has to do with banks and the lax adherence to prudent judgment in accepting mortgage applications as well as other issues that have arisen such as the BP oil spill, lack of federal government to resolve issues or even discuss some topics, and related issues.


First the diminution of trust.


As Jesse Eisinger reported in a New York Times piece a few months ago "For Banks, a Deficit of Trust." "Morgan Stanley is and a safe investment by any measure except one: The amount of trust people have in the whole financial and political system. It's just about zero." No one trusts anyone these past 10 years since we had the decay of Arthur Anderson, the CFO then CEO issues, the priests' issue, said Eisinger. We have all lost trust with each other.


Survey any group to participate in and see who trusts whom. Here are some key points Eisinger wrote.


Trust is gone, hopefully just dormant but for now, gone. That's why we want the political ins to become outs. Why we do not necessarily trust the outs to become ins.


Don't believe it? Just ask you business colleagues, neighbors, church acquaintances, school mates, customers, clients and bankers. Ask anyone and you will get maybe 10 percent of respondents who trust something based on hope for better things. But 90 percent who do not trust anyone or anything. Lying, cheating and stealing has become a norm in our society.


It's massively ugly folks. And who is leading the pack to resurge against this massive display of no trust?


Second, as Tom Friedman quoted in his "One Country, Two Resolutions" column in The New York Times a few months back:


"While Wall Street is being rattled by social revolution, Silicon Valley is being transformed by another technology revolution - one that is taking the world from connect to hyper-connected and individuals from empowered to super-empowered.   It is the biggest leap forward in the IT revolution since the mainframe computer was replaced by desktops and the Web. The latest phase in the IT revolution is being driven by the convergence of social media - Facebook, Twitter, LinkeIn, Groupon and Zynga - with the proliferation of cheap wireless connectivity and Web-enabled smartphones and 'The Cloud' - those enormous server farms that hold and constantly update thousands of software applications, which are then downloaded (as if from The Cloud) by users on their smartphones making them into incredibly powerful devices that can perform myriad tasks."


It is just like the timesharing days 30 years ago when people began to realize they did not have to buy hugely expensive mainframes, but could rent them on an as-needed basis and pay for only the time they used. "This is speeding up everything - innovation, product cycles and competition," explained Friedman through Alen Cohen, a VP in Nicira, a new networking company in Silicon Valley.


Does anyone care about trust any more? Whom do you trust?



Larry T. Eiler
















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