From 3-D prenatal sonograms to digital codes on gravestones that allow visitors to view pictures of the deceased via a mobile app; smartphones can now transmit information about us from before we’re born until long after we die.
In between; we are now tethered to our mobile devices by an electronic leash so tight that 38% of smartphone owners who use their devices for work, actually wake up in the middle of the night to check their messages. This, according to a report from iPass, a mobile connectivity provider for business.
The iPass report also shows that mobile workers in the US are putting in an average of 240 more hours on the job per year than the workforce in general. These workers say they feel like they are always on call; never able to really relax, even when they’re on vacation.
But what of the toll on our physical and mental health? Mobile phone use has been linked to brain tumors; behavioral problems in children; car accidents from distracted driving; and even the disappearance of honeybees upon which we depend to fertilize crops worldwide.
Despite all of those factors; mobile phones and other devices are obviously here to stay. They are a lifeline for the elderly; an entertainment center; and a vital connection to family, friends, and work. In fact, according to a study in 2010; one in four US homes had no land line and relied exclusively on mobile.
They’re also a vital tool for commerce and advertising revenue. Media and advertising firm BIA/Kelsey has projected that U.S. mobile ad spending will grow to $4 billion by 2015.
So how do we strike a healthy balance?
While I may be crazy about my mobile; I’m not crazy enough to sacrifice my health or maybe even my life for it.
So, maybe the answer is to improve mobile phone safety. Or, maybe our work culture can change enough to allow us to feel as though it’s okay to be out of reach now and then.
I haven’t quite figured it out yet, but I’d like to hear from you. Let me know what you think in the comments section below.