Do you know someone, maybe quite a few someones, that always seem to have their cell phones close at hand? Like a Wild West gun slinger, it perches at their hip, in their pocket or even as far away as a purse. Always accessible, the owner is vigilant for a chirp or whistle, musical notes or a vibration that signals that someone, somewhere has thought of them.
I've been at meetings where the cell phone is placed on the conference table; face down apparently is deemed more courteous. During a lull in the discussion or if everyone's gaze is fixed on a flow chart on the wall, the cell phone is surreptitiously flipped over, scanned and entries are thumbed through. The phone may then be dropped into the lap for some discreet texting.
Many jurisdictions have passed laws against texting and driving or talking on your cell phone while driving. I'm not sure having a blue tooth phone in your ear helps with the distraction factor because the person you are talking to doesn't realize why you are pausing in your dialogue. I have been engaged in interesting conversations while driving with the person in the passenger seat but when I pause, it is apparent that I am trying to make a left turn in a busy intersection or that something else on the road needs my total attention. I can easily say, 'just a sec,' without feeling I need to explain. This just isn't the same when your conversational partner is absent.
Some people feel the need to always have their cell phone within arm's reach. They lay it on the bedside table at night and beside them when eating dinner. If it is silent for too long, it seems necessary to check if something has been missed or isn't working. This article in U.S.A. Today informs us how many times a day people check and/or use their cell phone. Guess. Apple advises that their cell phone users unlock them eighty times a day.
But why? The article states that frequent phone users, addicted phone users, get a little thrill, a little hit of dopamine, the happy brain hormone, every time their phone gives a little beep or shake. And like any addiction it's not a positive thing. No one would call it as harmful as cocaine or heroin. It's a little closer to what propels a slot machine user to keep pushing the button when their wiser self knows they should stop.
It is probably also difficult for employees, some of whom are expected to be on call 24/7. You used to have the excuse that you were on the road or visiting friends but no more. Cell phone companies have no difficulties in increasing rates monthly and the cost of the cell phones themselves seems beyond what is reasonable. It seems for many people it is one of life's necessities. Maybe if it still looked like this:
or even this:
things would be different.