Forget cocaine, club drugs, steroids and meth. Americans are falling victim to a virulent new form of addiction – to their smartphones.
“People view their smartphones as an extension of themselves, taking them everywhere, from the shower to their commute, from the dinner table to the bedroom,” Jumio chief marketing and strategy officer Marc Barach told the Center for Media Research. Not only that, but they even have withdrawal symptoms. “When consumers are separated from their devices, panic sets in,” a July 22 Marketing brief [link unavailable] noted.
Looking for love in all the wrong places
Barach wasn’t making all that up.
His company commissioned a Harris Interactive survey of 2,021 online adults (age 18+), 1,102 of whom use or own smartphones. According to the findings, Americans love their smartphones – particularly in the wrong places.
- 35 percent said they used their smartphones in movie theaters.
- 33 percent during dinner dates
- 32 percent at a child’s or school function
- 19 percent at church or in another place of worship
- 12 percent while showering
- a whopping 55 percent while driving, even in states where that’s illegal
Almost 9 percent of all respondents – and 20 percent of those aged 18 to 34 – confessed they even use their smartphone during sex.
Yet, only about 12 percent say their smart phone gets in the way of their relationship (maybe because they’ve set it to vibrate?).
Hope for the addicted
While this addiction has reached epidemic proportions, all is not lost for the addicted.
Addiction is a complex but treatable disease. It is characterized by compulsive… craving, seeking, and use that persists even if the user is aware of severe adverse consequences. For some people, addiction becomes chronic, having periodic relapses even after long periods of abstinence. As a chronic, relapsing disease, addiction may require continued treatments to increase the intervals between relapses and diminish their intensity. While some…recover and lead fulfilling lives, others require ongoing additional support. The ultimate goal of addiction treatment is to enable an individual to manage their substance misuse; for some this may mean abstinence. Immediate goals are often to reduce substance abuse, improve the patient’s ability to function, and minimize the medical and social complications of substance abuse and their addiction this is called Harm Reduction.
Treatments and attitudes toward addiction vary widely among different countries. In the USA and developing countries, the goal..is generally total abstinence…Other countries, particularly in Europe, argue the aims of treatment…are more complex, with treatment aims including reduction in use to the point that [it] no longer interferes with normal activities such as work and family commitments…These kinds of outcomes can be achieved without eliminating drug use completely…[T]reatment programs in Europe often report more favorable outcomes than those in the USA because the criteria for measuring success are functional rather than abstinence-based.
If you’re hopelessly addicted to your smartphone and want to recover, try Europe, where success rate is higher because the marking curve is lower.
Or if you’re an advertiser, go mobile to take advantage of America’s smartphone addiction.
Learn more about the SmallBiz Internet Marketing Basic Training workshop, July 30 in Richmond.