BY DOROTHY ROSBY
I read that average Americans check their phones 344 times a day. That’s once every four minutes. If you’re checking your phone every four minutes, all I can say is good for you. At least you can find it.
When I got up from my desk this morning, I couldn’t bear to be without my cellphone for five minutes. So I took it with me and laid it down somewhere and now I can’t remember where that was. I’ve now been without it for five hours.
This is not unusual. That’s why I was so interested to read that 47% of those responding to a recent survey by reviews.org consider themselves addicted to their phones. On the one hand, addiction is a terrible thing. On the other hand, it would be wonderful to know where my phone is long enough to get addicted to it.
And after reading about the survey, I can see that my habit of misplacing my smartphone might be the only thing standing between me and a serious addiction myself. I could totally relate to most of the survey responses. For example, 74% of those responding said they feel uneasy leaving their phone at home. I get it. You never know when you might need to make a call—or take a picture of your lunch.
Sixty-one percent have texted someone in the same room they were in. So? It might have been a really big room.
Forty-three percent use their phone while on a date. Big deal. Their date is probably doing the same thing.
I was a little concerned though that 35% look at their phones while driving. I’d feel safer if those people would lose their cellphones as often as I do, just not in their cars. I happen to know that the only thing more dangerous than looking at your phone while you’re driving is looking for your phone while you’re driving.
Conspicuously absent from the survey was any mention of how much time average Americans spend looking for their phones. Maybe that’s because they don’t put them down long enough to lose them
Frankly, I don’t see how I do. My phone does everything for me except clean my house. It’s my camera, my calculator, my encyclopedia and my flashlight. As often as I lose it, it’s still easier to keep track of than my other flashlights because they never ring.
It’s also my calendar, my address book, my phone book and, oh yes, my telephone. If someone found my smartphone and figured out my password, they could take over my life and probably do a better job with it.
With all our cellphones do, it’s a wonder the number of the addicted isn’t higher than 47%. Fifty-three percent do say they’ve never gone longer than 24 hours without it. That’s understandable, seeing as they get emails, texts, an occasional phone call and two or three hundred notifications from Facebook and Twitter on it every day. Whatever would they do without all of that?
Forty-five percent say their cellphone is their most valuable possession. I wouldn’t go that far. I’m very fond of my laptop. But I understand why 53% say that in a house fire, their cellphone would be the first possession they’d try to save. Of course. How else are they going to call 911?
With all we use it for, it’s no wonder Americans spend an average of two hours and 54 minutes on their phones each day. That means if you’re average, you’ll spend almost a month and a half on your cellphone this year. That does seem excessive, but it beats spending a month and a half looking for it.
Dorothy Rosby is the author of three books of humorous essays, including I Used to Think I Was Not That Bad and Then I Got to Know Me Better. Contact email@example.com.