Smartphone obsession

I use my smartphone, an iPhone, to keep up with email, which flows in at a rate I can’t handle, and to post to or moderate this beast of a blog.  I use it for some light SMS texting too.  It is a great tool when I am on the road, since I can also use it like an iPod.

From Sancte Pater and the great Vincenzo:

Some owners so obsessed with their smartphones, they name them

Associated Press

“Watching people who get their first smartphone, there’s a very quick progression from having a basic phone you don’t talk about to people who love their iPhone, name their phone and buy their phones outfits,” said Lisa Merlo, director of psychotherapy training at the University of Florida…

Merlo, a clinical psychologist, said she has observed a number of behaviors among smartphone users that she labels problematic.

Among them, she said, are some patients who pretend to talk on the phone or fiddle with apps to avoid eye contact or other interactions at a bar or a party; others are so genuinely engrossed in their phones that they ignore the people around them completely.

“The more bells and whistles the phone has,” she said, “the more likely they are to get too attached.”

For some, the anxious feeling that they might miss something has caused them to slumber next to their smartphones…

For others, being away from their phone will almost certainly cause separation anxiety. According to researchers at the Ericsson Consumer Lab, some people have become so dependent on being able to use their smartphones to go online anytime, anywhere, that without that access, they “can no longer handle their daily routine.”

Read More

Good grief!

Though I admit that when I have left home without my phone I feel really weird.   Hmmm….

BTW… Vincenzo is the official photoshopper of WDTPRS.  He is also the maker of the wondrous Pope Pius Clock, which WDTPRS endorses.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Throwing a Nutty and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. flyfree432 says:

    What happens when we have a Pope Pius XIII?

  2. AnAmericanMother says:

    Put him in the middle of the clock.

    Re iPhones — try living for a week in an area where there is NO cellphone service. That was last week — pretty rough!

  3. Charles E Flynn says:

    Do you obsessively check your smartphone?, by Elizabeth Cohen, CNN Senior Medical Correspondent.

  4. Random Friar says:

    I recently went to attend a young parishioner’s quinceañera celebration. I could not believe how many younger folks at the party (and an adult here and there) were texting… during the party! I was thinking to myself, “You have 100 real people here to talk to. Turn the phone off!”

  5. Legisperitus says:

    I’ve seen this happen to my wife. I’m terrified of getting a smartphone myself because … who would watch the children? :D

  6. Jacob says:

    I don’t use a smartphone. Life is hard enough without having to deal with people calling/texting/emailing me all the time.

  7. Random Friar says:

    Legisperitus: You could text them and check their Twitter page. ;)

    Honestly, though. I know I sound like I’m 100, but I love tech, and people need to unplug. I would love for cell phones to be turned off or muted Sundays (besides the added benefit of NOT ringing at Mass). One could go from virtual reality to true reality, especially to the source of all reality and being, God.

  8. trespinos says:

    I don’t text, period. I don’t buy my phone outfits. (yecch) I appreciate its versatility, but I don’t obsess over having it near me at all times. I did name it, because the Zune software wheedled me into doing so. “Furbophone”.

  9. mrsmontoya says:

    Of course I would never name my phone. However, my Kindle is another thing altogether.

  10. APX says:

    For some, the anxious feeling that they might miss something has caused them to slumber next to their smartphones

    I used to sleep next to my iPhone so I could check it first thing in the morning, but I quit after I gave my number to some guy who literally sent me text messages throughout the night and it kept waking me up. I quickly lost interest in checking my phone. IMHO, I think people are just suffering from separation anxiety in general and it’s spilling over into their cell phone use.

    Oddly enough, the only phone I ever named was my Audiovox flip phone, which I named “The Velocitizer” because I used its stopwatch and calculator to determine the velocity of vehicles on the highway. That phone was the phone, with its color screen, polyphonic ring tones, and super cool holster.

    My iPhone, which I’m the third owner of, and has seen better days (, has been a lifesaver for me with school whenever the unreliable WiFi would go down shortly before the cut off time for a take home exam that needed emailing, and Shazam has found me more eclectic songs that are musically awesome, but not in a language I recognize in order to use Google. It’s the Swiss Army Knife of cellphones. If it can be used for more than one thing, then of course people are going to be using it more and being more attached it. Personally, I love it the most for its ability to hold my entire music collection more conveniently than the shoeboxes of caseless CDs sitting on the floor of the front seat in my car.

    FYI: I’m not attached to my iPhone.

  11. Random Friar says:

    I just recalled that this “naming” behavior also occurs in other addicts (as in drug addicts) or people with destructive behavior, giving a name by which they call their problem.

  12. TC says:

    Smartphones make people stupid. When you can Google everything, why learn anything? When you’re constantly “in touch” why actually have a conversation?

    Praying for sunspots, or EMP.

  13. pelerin says:

    I have noticed more and more young mothers pushing their prams with one hand and using their mobile phones with the other. When you are in charge of a child you should have 100% attention on him or her with regard to what is going on around. How can they do this while on the phone?
    The other day I saw a young mum on a bus texting on her phone during the whole journey oblivious to her child who kept on tugging at her clothes to get attention. Very sad.

  14. Rob in Maine says:

    Not so strange naming your phone. Mac users have always named their machines; better than “My Computer” or “C://” on the desktop icon. My friend has his three Macs names after Greek city-states (Spart, Athens and Corinth). Servers get names too. At the MIT fluid Mechanics Lab, the servers were all named after WWII US Generals.

    My iphone is called “Star Trek Communicator.”

    Now, if unnamed their phone “Clarise” and referred to it like that – that would be odd.

    BTW, I’ve doped my iphone so many times, the wi-fi doesn’t work any more. Last year to save cash, I bought an AT&T GO Phone and switched the SIM cards, so I have a pre-paid iPhone with no data service. NOw with no wi-fi, I can send and receive texts and calls, but little else. It’s rather liberating.

    Rob in Maine

  15. Back in the old days long ago, only a decade or so after the TLM was banished and smart people used Macs, I used to wonder whether anyone ever (like me) bought his first Mac shortly after reading for the first time the greatest science fiction work ever, Arthur Clarke’s Rendezvous with Rama without (like me) naming that Mac “Rama”.

  16. Choirmaster says:

    I don’t have a “smart phone”, but I do get very anxious if I leave the house without my regular phone. What would I do if my car broke down? How would I tell the people I’m going to meet that I’m late? The horror!

    Regarding naming: I name my car. Is that weird? Or have people been doing that for so long that we’ve been desensitized to it? I also get anxious if I leave the house without my car, but that’s another kind of problem.

  17. Christine says:

    A priest friend of mine once said, “if people leave their cell phone at home, they will turn around and go get it. Would you do that if you left your Bible at home?”

  18. RichardT says:

    I name all sorts of inanimate things, trying to pick something suitable.

    My laptop (an IBM) is Cynthia (which suggests a fairly severely-dressed secretary). The cars are all named, including Keith (who looks like he belongs in a golf club) and Barbra (the bonnet reminds me of Barbra Streisand’s nose).

    Not a sign of obsession, although it may be a sign of insanity.

  19. Andrew says:

    Habet nescio quid latentis energiae viva vox; et in aures discipuli de auctoris ore transfusa fortius sonat. (S. Hier. ep. LIII ad Paulinum)

  20. acroat says:

    No smart phone (refuse to pay for data package). However, I named my Neato (robotic vacuum) after my mom. She would have been the first to have one had she lived long enough…

  21. irishgirl says:

    I have an ‘ordinary’ cell phone-not a lot of ‘bells and whistles’ on it. I don’t obsess over it with regards to calls-I just have to remember to turn it off when I go to Mass on Sundays! Last week I heard it vibrating because a message was coming in (an ad, not a text message from somebody)-it’s embarrassing!
    I have a Mac laptop, which I got back from the repair shop late last month-just a couple days before it was going to be ‘trashed’ (gaaah!). I can only use it outside my house, since I don’t have internet. But I try to make Sundays a ‘tech free’ day and not use it then.
    It drives me nuts when I see people walking along looking at their cell phones-what the heck is so important that you can’t watch where you’re going? Look up once in awhile, people! Sheesh….!

  22. lucy says:

    I absolutely hate that people can be sitting and talking with friends and also be checking and texting at the same time. I feel ignored. My hubby has an iTouch – not a phone, just everything else, and he’s a bit too attached to it. When I told him that he spent more time with the little thing, than with his family, he sorta backed off a bit in using it.

    We don’t have a texting package and rec’g them is annoying because it costs us money.

    While we’re talking about annoying techno gizmos……I am also not a fan of tv’s in restaurants. Folks cannot help but be drawn to look.

  23. MJ says:

    I have an iPhone – love it – hate the monthly bill….SO expensive. Funny this post came up today – about smart phones – because I’m actually leaving at&t today for another company where I can get essentially the same thing (unlimited data, 300min/mo) for about a third the cost…just $35/mo. Gonna try it out anyway and see how it goes. I feel much safer having a phone with me for emergencies…I hate texting (it’s blocked right now)…and I use the data to check email or check traffic or look up directions. But yeah…I feel attached to it too…I’m sort of debating whether I should just get a “dumb phone” with just the minimum number of minutes I need. But I do like the GPS / Google Maps app…I use that all_the_time…

    My phone doesn’t have a name…and it bugs me SO much when I find myself checking the phone instead of talking to the people around me! I try not to do that…try to keep it in my purse when I’m actually around people. It’s handy if I’m waiting somewhere (traffic, meeting, etc) and I need something to read while I wait…usually WDTPRS is the first thing I check. :)

  24. GADEL says:

    Thank God I don’t have a smartphone now. Feel a lot free.

  25. KAS says:

    I don’t even keep my regular phone on all the time– there is a time and place for technology and it does NOT need to run my life. I am offended when the person I am with texts during our conversation, they don’t even realize how little actual conversation we are having due to their texting.

    Most of us can tell if the person we are talking to is also texting or surfing the web. The quality of the conversation stinks.

    Turn them off at parties and other social events people– only doctors and firemen need to be able to be beeped during Mass or dinner out with friends!

  26. Ana says:

    Pet peeve here: There are others who many need continual access to their phones — those of caring for elderly or ill family members. My father is ill and usually when I am out my brother who is profoundly deaf is watching him. So, I need to be able to answer my phone immediately. Sorry if people feel this is rude, but my family comes first and I’m sure Christ understands.

    At the same time, I don’t check my phone every few minutes when I am with friends. It stays in my purse or face down on the table if I don’t have my purse with me. If I’m at dinner with someone who decides to text or answer their phone for non-emergency issues that does tend to irritate me and I try to jokingly let the person know.

    I love my DroidX and I doubt I could live without it as it does function as my GPS, phone, email access for work, and a myriad of other things. The key is being able to prioritize so that it isn’t running my life.

  27. The Cobbler says:

    As a young college student who hates bells and whistles, wants his computer to be his computer and his phone to be his phone, and only has a cell phone to coordinate being picked up on time (because cell phones are cheaper than cars?), I wish to posit that part of this analysis is backwards. The more likely you are to be obsessed with your phone, the more likely you are to care about, chase after or obsess about bells and whistles for it, not the other way around. The obsessive tendency must be there for the bells and whistles to matter, they don’t cause it in those for whom it doesn’t matter.

  28. AnAmericanMother says:

    Don’t need to go back for my Bible, the iPhone has the iPieta app with parallel Vulgate and Douay versions. Plus the Baltimore Catechism, the Summa Theologica, a ton of treatises and just about every prayer you can think of . . . .
    The “old biddies” may think I’m checking my Email or texting, but I know what I’m up to, and so does the Lord.
    I do make certain it’s in silent mode when I’m in church.

Comments are closed.