It’s somewhere around 2 am when you’re suddenly awoken by something. It takes a few seconds for you to realise what it is: your mobile is buzzing, singing, beeping – whatever your notification sound is at the moment. Do you roll back over and go to sleep, or sit right up to see what the message is?
On those nights I forget to put my mobile in silent mode, I just roll over and keep sleeping. That is, unless a member of my family is out and may be contacting me in an emergency. But the fact is my mobile is right there, plugged into my nightstand (yes, I bought a nightstand that included built in plugs for my devices). It sits there in the top drawer while my iPad sits on top of my nightstand, conveniently running the Nightstand app. So even while I’m sleeping, my mobile technology is just a few inches away.
While it’s undeniable technology is a growing part of our everyday lives, it may be surprising how few of us ever turn it off. Or leave it behind. A 2014 study of Americans revealed that 43% never unplug from technology (mobiles, tablets, TVs, laptops, etc.). Another 17% only unplug a few times a year. Twenty percent say they unplug daily, but that large a percentage makes me wonder if they misunderstood the question. Perhaps they took it literally and said yes they unplug their devices everyday – like when you unplug your mobile to take it with you. We’ll never know I suppose.
This latest survey matches up well with previous studies in the UK that revealed many felt giving up technology was as hard as giving up cigarettes or caffeine. If you do a Google search for “unplug” you’re likely to find a slew of websites and social media movements aimed at getting people to turn off their technology, at least for a little while. I love the concept, but in practice it’s a very hard thing to do.
But there’s a good side to always being “plugged in” too. At least when it comes to mobiles. Never before could we be so in touch, so up-to-date, and informed. From our perspective, always having your mobile so close by makes it the perfect means to send timely or critical information via SMS messaging. For example, school closures, account balance information, reservation confirmations, delivery notifications, and emergency alerts of all kinds.
What do you think? Do you find a balance between “always on” and “unplugging”? Or are you as addicted to your mobile as I am? Is any thought you should unplug mobile devices going to fall on deaf ears?