Strap in folks, we’ve hit that real fun speed bump that is media regulation. More specifically I’d like to focus on a level of self-regulation. I’m guilty of being a bit of phone addict but whenever someone throws shade at me for always being on my phone I’ll quickly jump to my own defense and let them know that I went for 4 days without my phone after being set a regulation challenge by my dad on a family holiday.
Before I get into that let me give you a run down on how youth use their mobile phones. I’m about to throw you some stats as documented by Jeremy Drumm and Stuart Johnston in their Mobile Consumer Survey 2015 results paper.
- Firstly, Six in en Australian own multiple devices
- 79% of Australians own a smartphone
- Collectively, Australian’s look at their smartphones more than 440 million times a day
- This obsession with the smartphone reflects a craving to connect and check-in on waking and just before sleeping
- More than 80% of the population can’t last an hour after waking before checking their smartphones
- Half the mobile consumers aged between 18-24 connect and interact with their favorite device within five minutes of waking up
Now just in case these statistics made you want to join an Amish community, I thought I’d give everyone a brief timeline of my day and when I use my device.
So I wake up to an alarm set by my phone, which literally sits on my bed while I’m asleep. Then after I’ve hit snooze too many times, I’ll do the rounds while laying in bed half asleep; Instagram scroll, Facebook scroll, snap chat check, message a few friends about plans for that day, I’ll generally check the weather and my work rosters to make sure I’m supposed to be somewhere other than my bed and then finally I might even go back for a second refresh of snap chat and Instagram. So I’ve already lost count of how many times I’ve checked what and for how long. Once I’m in my car, I’ll plug my phone into my AUX cord and get my favorite playlist on Spotify going. Once I’ve arrived at my destination, I’ll generally go back for another round. If I’m at uni, my phone is generally always in my hand or on my desk or in my back pocket so that it is always in easy reach because you know I’m so popular and might have to reply to all the messages I haven’t received. My phone is my watch, my calculator, my inbox, my bank, my social networks, and my entertainment. The only time of the day that my phone isn’t on me or in near reach is dinnertime when I’m at home. I will always finish my day with phone browsing, similar to how I start my day and this can go for anywhere between 10 minutes to more than an hour depending on how sleepy I am and who else is awake.
So now that we’ve got this whole “Hi, my name is Laura and I’m an addict” out of the way. I’d like to tell you a real quick story; we were on a family holiday, my dad, step mum, stepsister and stepbrother. I was 18, my brother was 21 and my sister was 23, all three of us were constantly on our phones, in the car on the way down, we took up most of the power points available in the tent with our chargers, while we were having wine and nibbles down by the river of the afternoon and our tent would be lit up from the inside well after we had all said goodnight. We got to day two of our fam camping trip and dad was over it. The reception wasn’t that great anywhere and there was no Wi-Fi so he challenged us to self-regulate our phone usage. He wanted us to go the rest of the trip without touching any kind of mobile device in order to really enjoy our trip and make the most of the time we got to spend all together, which is really quite rare. With the statistics I mentioned above being as extreme as they are, I knew I would get a lot out of this whole no mobile phone thing. I made it! I lasted the full four days, unlike my brother and sister who tapped out quite early on. This idea of self-regulation got me thinking, when I first got home from our trip away I had enjoyed this new sense of freedom I had discovered and made a constant effort to put my phone down for a couple of hours a day. Not only for the health benefits, but more so for the social benefits, my generation is such a ‘capture the moment’ not ‘live in the moment’ kind of group. Whilst we have been scrutinized for this, it is essentially what the world we live in is like now.
There are more and more forms of self-regulation coming out everyday; I saw an ad on television the other day advertising a product that you can lock your device or food or anything you need to take a step back from in a container for a certain amount of time and it won’t open until the timer has finished. Similarly, there are apps on your mobile device that will restrict your access to it. Like are we really that incapable of self-regulation that we have to rely on someone or something else to tell us to put our devices down?
Let me know if you would use these products or if you think you need them? Do you think people are too harsh on the younger generation in terms of their phone usage? Leave a comment!
It’s been real, keep it that way x
Drumm, J & Johnston, S 2015, Mobile Consumer Servey 2015 – The Australian Cut, Deloitte, viewed 22 September 2016, <http://landing.deloitte.com.au/rs/761-IBL-328/images/deloitte-au-tmt-mobile-consumer-survey-2015-291015.pdf>
Research and analysis section 2015, Australians get mobile, ACMA viewed 22 September 2016, <http://www.acma.gov.au/theACMA/engage-blogs/engage-blogs/Research-snapshots/Australians-get-mobile>