Is your cell phone destroying your relationship?

Research from Baylor's Hankamer School of Business suggests that young people's relationships are being radically altered by the cell phone obsession. But is it just young people?

Is it ruining our humanity? Apple screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Cell phones are more interesting than people.

They're smarter. They're much quicker on the uptake. And, unlike people, they're far more interactive.

This is because, most of the time, people have their noses pointed toward their cell phones.

Some very sharp minds at Baylor's Hankamer School of Business have researched young people's obsession with their cell phones and declared that the sane development of our youth is being threatened by these gadgets.

Baylor's Dr. James Roberts was quoted by the Daily Mail as offering these dark thoughts: "Mobile phones are a part of our consumer culture. They are not just a consumer tool, but are used as a status symbol. They're also eroding our personal relationships."

There is some relief in these remarks.

I had always thought that it was people who are eroding their personal relationships. But, no. This is, apparently, a disease as bad as constant and compulsive credit card spending.

The Baylor team tried to pin this all on the young. They said that the average teen sends 109.5 texts a day. The 0.5 of a text is surely to a parent.

They were, no doubt, positively stimulated by this radically thoughtful Gizmodo piece that suggested it was really not such a bad thing to check your phone during sex.

And yet I fear that phonophilia is spreading far beyond the young.

How can it not be when a restaurant in Los Angeles is actually trying to bribe people into not bringing their phones to the dinner table?

One of the tragedies of this phonophilia is surely that people just don't like looking each other in the eye any more.

They're far more comfortable typing their news -- especially bad news -- over a phone.

They dump their lovers by text. Or, if they're still deeply in love with them -- but just can't get over their fears that they themselves are not quite good enough -- they'll use the Skype app or FaceTime.

They persuade themselves that if they type into a screen, their feelings will be more accurate and more thoughtful. They feel sure that, if they hurt the other person, they won't actually have to see their tears.

The obverse of that, of course, is that they spend all day staring into the screens waiting and fearing that news of some indeterminate kind will delight or destroy their day.

Yes, we are obsessed about our phones. Because, at heart, they now control our every feeling.

And what are we, if not a bunch of chemicals looking for a home?

 

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