Cell phones as sleep mates


Smartphone Configuration for Social Media Mark...

Smartphone Configuration for Social Media Marketing in Frederick MD (Photo credit: Frederick Md Publicity)

 

 

 

Do you sleep with your cell phone? If so, you’re not alone. More than 40% of adult Americans do, according the Pew Center’s Internet and American Life Project. Also 76 percent of 2,254 respondents say they have experienced “phantom rings,” checking their phones even when they don’t ring or vibrate.

 

Sam Chapman reports having experienced phantom vibrations. He often read and sent emails in the middle of the night. He slept poorly and awakened tired. He says he was addicted to his smartphone. Realizing that this was a problem probably shared by others, Chapman, head of Empower Public Relations, recently adopted a policy for his company: no smartphones for his employees from 6 at night until 6 the next morning and no smartphone use for business on weekends. By disconnecting for at least a short while workplace productivity is up, he reports. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/01/business/some-companies-seek-to-wean-employees-from-their-smartphones.html?_r=0

 

As is becoming increasing clear, there is a price to be paid for being constantly connected and always in touch. I think back to when I lived with my wife and two children in Kenya for four months, on a hillside not far from Lake Victoria, when the world seemed never closer—and never further away. The neighborhood abounded with all things human: passion and jealousy, marriage and death, births, births, always more births, friendships and religious antagonisms, cooperation and crime.

 

But there was also quiet enough to hear birds sing in the trees and cows low on farms. There was time enough to think and follow my own thoughts. 

 

This was the time before computers, cell phones and, at my place, electricity. The nearest telephone was two valleys away. I read no newspapers and once a week bought a news magazine. I kept abreast of events on my battery-powered radio. We eagerly waited for letters from home that arrived about once a week.

 

Being disconnected wasn’t easy at first. But just as distance runners talk about breaking through the wall, there came a time when we settled in and boredom disappeared. There was a profound sense of just being.

 

That which had seemed vital to know about immediately while in the United States could wait. The important things, I realized, were those matters nearest at hand. Learning about disasters, the state of the economy, and political events could wait.

 

Breathlessness wasn’t a constant companion, anxiety wasn’t related to missing the latest message. I learned that emergencies are rare events.

 

Being part of the world shouldn’t be a persistent burden but rather a source of power. The lure of the Internet, immediate and constant contact with others can be more than a distraction; it can be an addiction.

 

I tell this to myself every morning as I read two newspapers; I tell myself this during the day as I check my emails, and I remind myself throughout the day and evening I plug into the news.

 

But the news before going to bed? We need lullabies before sleep, not horror stories. As for sleeping with the phone? No addiction is helpful.

 

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Cell phones as sleep mates

  1. Jan. 4 happens to be the anniversary of when I began a nearly 2-decade career working for corporations…which evolved into pagers, 24-hour support. Fortunately I’m no longer a part of that lifestyle.

    “…76 percent of 2,254 respondents say they have experienced ‘phantom rings,’ checking their phones even when they don’t ring or vibrate.”

    Yep – been-there-done-that…and even *after* I got away from corporate life! For a few years after I quit apparently the corporate life didn’t quit me! I would, on occasion, experience a “phantom” page, a vibration near a place on my pants-belt where I’d where the pager.

    “Being disconnected wasn’t easy at first. But just as distance runners talk about breaking through the wall, there came a time when we settled in and boredom disappeared. There was a profound sense of just being.”

    I find this encouraging. It’s a reminder to set aside a portion of my day in meditation (even if the experience is not “profound.”)

    “I learned that emergencies are rare events. Being part of the world shouldn’t be a persistent burden but rather a source of power.”

    My current “emergency” is an auto-repair which potentially could mushroom in costs. My hope is that this is not a true emergency (it isn’t; I won’t die, get cancer, etc.) But being “part of the world” is extremely important. And I think reading the news helps with that feeling of belonging. But it’s not too long before I realize that the news is oftentimes a “persistent burden” as much as (or even more than) a “source of power.”

  2. The more the world becomes frenetically connected, the more I long for my cabin in Alaska and companionship with the moose and the bear.

    I think the addiction to cell phones is a product of two dynamics, neither of them good.

    First, I think that many people are afraid to be alone with nothing but their own thoughts to keep them engaged. Among the greatest dreads is boredom, and constant yapping on a cell phone alleviates that burden.

    The second, is the yen for self-esteem. For some people their worthiness is pegged to constantly being in demand. If the cell phone rings, especially, if others can hear it, the conclusion is that this guy must be very important.

    Immanuel Kant tells us, au contraire, that dignity is tied to personal autonomy, in other words not jumping to the demands of others.

    For myself, I go with Kant. And much of the time, I just want to be left alone.

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