If you’ve been on a college campus recently or at a shopping mall or heavily trafficked downtown — or maybe just in a restaurant — you could not have missed the fact that young people are absolutely addicted to their cell phones.
I use the term “addicted” advisedly.
But, numbers cited by Ken Budd in an article in the most recent AARP magazine seem to make “addiction” seem plausible if not altogether likely. “Americans, on average, touch their phones an astounding 2,617 times a day, according to market researcher Discount,” he writes. Fifty percent of people check their cell phones in the middle of the night.
Budd builds a pretty solid case: A great many Americans would rather look and interact with their cell phones than with anyone or anything else.
The result is a reduced attention span and an increased level of frustration as well as a decrease in the ability to do sustained work or focused work or, in other words, to concentrate.
Budd doesn’t go into the longterm consequences, but they are not hard to imagine: A nation that thrives on soundbites and Twitter and the glitter of celebrity while denigrating thoughtful and reasoned approaches to the matters of the world. Sound familiar?