Reasons That Hook Us On To Smartphones
The inauguration of the Apple brand phones – iPhone 8 and iPhone X was recently
showcased, which contained sleek and latest features. Apple also expects to begin a new
community around their iPhones. Prior to the launch, Angela Ahrendts, head of Apple’s retail
unit announced that their outlets will be named “Town Squares,” and would function as
public spaces, full with outdoor plazas, boardrooms and indoor forums.
The much-expected product launch was viewed by millions who witnessed the event by
livestream and through internet forums, blogs and within the news media.
Actually, what makes people get addicted to such phones. Certainly, there is something much
more than the cutting-edge design or the interaction with a community. In essence, the
phones suits our human cravings and a sense of possession.
Let’s cite some of the probable reasons as to why we remain so hooked to our phones:
Part of our extended image
Our perception of self is designed while we are still in the womb. The growth of the self,
though, speeds up after birth. A newborn, first and topmost, links themselves to the primary
caregiver and later to other things – and in the process inherits something called an “extended
self.” In early infanthood, for instance, babies and toddlers cry if they abruptly lose their
preferred soft toy, as it represents their extended selves.
Phones also link us in a similar manner to our extended self as we become anxious if we drop
our phones or are unable to locate it.
Researchers found that 51 percent of persons born during the 1980s and 1990s suffered mild
to high levels of tension when they were stopped from checking in with their devices for over
fifteen minutes. Intriguingly, the percentage fell slightly – to 42% – for those born between
1965 and 1979.
This is mainly because they came into existence at a period where hand-held technologies
were only starting to make their appearance. For this segment, phones turned into part of
their extended self only as late teens or as young grown-ups.
Remembering Caring Relationships
Not only extended selves, smartphones especially, with their apps, games and notifications,
have become an important aspect of our sense of self.
Based on psychodynamic theory, which maintains that childhood experiences mould
personality, our relationship with technology illustrates the environment our parents built in
caring for us. This environment functions around feel, a keen perception of what the child
needs, and cultivating and maintaining eye contact.
Similarly, we, as adults, recapture touching and attachment through our phones. Technology
offers a space where one can experience oneself and feel satisfied. This was the space which
was formerly occupied by caregivers.
Holding these smartphones gives us a sense of intimacy. The brain chemical dopamine and
love hormone oxytocin, that has a role in the addiction hike is triggered. These chemicals also
generate a sense of belonging and inclusion.
Flashing our phone has similar effect of a parent looking fondly at her child or that of lovers
looking into each other’s eyes. In the words of an Apple executive: The iPhone X “learns
who you are.”
Satisfies our basic need of creating and recreating
As human beings it is our second nature to imitate, create models, and explore the difference
in our efforts to become an improved self.
Phones support us in that effort. We click pictures, edit images, participate in discussions,
preserve a selfie and exchange it with others. By texting to and fro, we carve out a
conversation. With searching, we gain knowledge ( even if we have less wisdom). In that
manner we resemble our ancestors who painted on cave walls and narrated stories around
Thus, it should not be surprising that smarphones utilized for internet searches is increasing
rapidly. This will reach to 75 percent by 2021 and will remain our most trusted handheld
Surviving With Technology
Human beings can feel monotonous if they get restricted to tiny screens or to “town squares.”
We require intimate associations where we offer and receive touch, where we look into
someone’s eyes. We also require spaces – some of them online – to build intimate
connections, relax and discover.
So, as a few of us saunter over to Town Square to buy the new iPhone or explore online, it
would be apt to recall technology historian Melvin Kranzberg’s dictum: “Technology is
neither good nor bad; nor is it neutral.”