© Jean-Luc Cornec

“It’s a mobile society,” notes Doug Gross for CNN Tech:

Call it good. Call it bad. It just is.… It’s just expected that we all have a mobile phone on us at all times.…

With an estimated 5 billion mobile phone connections in the world, not to mention the emerging number of tablet computers and other on-the-go connectivity gadgets, mobile technology has altered the way we live.… Smartphones, or tablet computers, put an amount of computing power in your pocket that would have taken up an entire room a generation ago.…

A phone. A map. A compass. A camera. A video recorder. A video-gaming device. A portable music player. A laptop. A GPS device. A flashlight. There was a time in the not-so-distant past when, if you wanted to have all of those things, you had to carry all of those things.… Today’s mobile devices keep you lighter on your feet, cramming them all into one device.1

“Smartphones are becoming more and more crucial in today’s world,” writes the TechCrunch website. “Not only do they keep us connected to our social networks, calendars, email, etc., but they are an external display of who we are.” 2

Cell phones “provide vital services and human connections,” writes Amy Gahran in a CNN Tech special. “They connect people in dire need with services that can change (or save) their lives and offer new hope, even through simple broadcast text messages.” 3

Blogger Annas Alharbi points out that “cell phones have helped advance globalization and improve people’s lives all over the world.” 4

This author finds relief in knowing that even in impoverished regions, cell phones can connect people to social services, social networks, and avenues of popular culture without the need for a traditional computer. “Devices that started out as simple mobile phones have morphed into something more akin to mini-computers that users carry around in their pockets,” relates Visage Mobile CEO Bzur Haun.5 Access to information outside of national boundaries is at ones’s fingertips thanks to mobile technology. But all this connectivity carries a price:

“A global study has shown that mobile workers struggle to separate themselves from the devices that they use,” reports Dawinderpal Sahota for the website. “Reliance on mobile technology has resulted in the average mobile worker working 240 hours a year longer than other employees, according to the study.” 6

A summer 2012 television advertising campaign by The Advocates, the nation’s leading jury and trial consulting firm, even depicts their attorneys taking cellphone calls inside a grocery store or along a jogging trail, for example, to then show them sitting down at their work desk at those locations implying that they’re always on call, 24/7.

“Think you’re addicited [sic] to your smartphone?” the Mashable website asks. “Turns out that cellphone addiction might be contagious.”

According to a new study conducted by the University of Michigan, people are more likely to pull out their phone when someone around them does the same.

In the study, researchers watched groups of students, documenting their cellphone use every 10 seconds. Overall, students were on their phones 24% of the time they spent with a friend, and were 39.5% more likely to use their phone when the person they were sitting with had done so in the previous 10-second interval.

Researcher Daniel Kruger said he believes the pattern may be attributed to social inclusion. If the person you’re sitting with is checking Twitter or texting other friends, then you’re likely to do so as well in order to avoid feeling excluded.7

Jason England writes for the website:

According to the paper published in the Human Ethology Bulletin, researchers Julia A. Finkel and Daniel J. Kruger have identified two potential causes for this mobile use contagiousness. Either by prompting: the individual remembers to check for emails when his or her friend checks their own. Or by inclusion: a digital wall is put up between you and your friend, when said friend starts using their phone. In a mixture of requirement of interaction and social conformity, you will then usually pick up your phone and check Facebook, to ensure you’re not just there staring into space.8

Backyard Brains - Neuroscience for Everyone!
Neuroscience for Everyone!

“Cell phone use is increasingly prominent in public settings and may shape face-to-face social interactions,” write the study’s authors:

Cell phones create an alternative outlet for one’s attention and may both promote and interfere with live social interaction. These results have important implications for the role of information technology in modern social interactions.9

Your child is being eaten by a camel. Do you...


Internet addiction infographic

1 Doug Gross, “10 ways mobile gadgets have changed our lives,” 7 October 2011, CNN Tech, at (retrieved: 12 August 2012).

2 Jordan Crook, “A Glimpse Of The Apocalypse: Walmart Customers Fight Over Phones On Black Friday,”, 23 November 2012, at (retrieved: 23 November 2012).

3 Amy Gahran, “How cell phones have changed our lives,” 22 October 2010, CNN Tech, at (retrieved: 12 August 2012).

4 Annas Alharbi, “How cell phones changed our lives,” 25 January 2012, at (retrieved: 12 August 2012).

5 Bzur Haun, “Report reveals that reliance on mobile devices is increasing,” Chief Mobility Officer, 2 November 2011, at (retrieved: 12 August 2012).

6 Dawinderpal Sahota, “Users becoming enslaved by their mobile devices,” 25 May 2011,, at (retrieved: 12 August 2012).

7 Emily Price, “Cellphone Addiction May Be Contagious, Study Finds,” Mashable, 3 December 2012, at (retrieved: 26 December 2012).

8 Jason England, “Study Shows Mobile Phone Addiction Might Be Contagious,”, 5 December 2012, at (retrieved: 26 December 2012).

9 Julia A. Finkel and Daniel J. Kruger, “Is Cell Phone Use Socially Contagious?” Human Ethology Bulletin, 27(1-2), 2012, at (retrieved: 26 December 2012).

See also

Ryan Gallagher, “Software that tracks people on social media created by defence firm,” 10 February 2013, at (retrieved: 26 February 2013).

Noah Schachtman and Robert Beckhuse, “11 Body Parts Defense Researchers Will Use to Track You,”, 25 January 2013, at (retrieved: 26 February 2013).

“Kids access porn sites at 6, begin flirting online at 8,”, 17 May 2013, at (retrieved: 6 June 2013).

Related videos

“Kids access porn sites at 6, begin flirting online at 8,” video at, (retrieved: 6 June 2013). (Watch it here)

“The History of Mobile Devices,” jrogey video at, (retrieved: 5 September 2012). (Watch it here)

“The Evolution of Cell Phone,” FaisalBaloush video at, (retrieved: 5 September 2012). (Watch it here)

“Can Mobile Phones Cause Brain Tumors?” breatheasy7000 video at, (retrieved: 5 September 2012). (Watch it here)

“Dr. George Carlo Tells the History of Mobile Phone Industry Part 1,” breatheasy7000 video at, (retrieved: 5 September 2012). (Watch it here)

“BLACK FRIDAY WALMART 2012 FIGHTING OVER PHONES,” The Best Videos on the Web! video at, (retrieved: 6 January 2013). (Watch it here)

“Study Finds Cell Phone Use is Contagious,” video at, (retrieved: 26 December 2012). (Watch it here)

“How Raytheon software tracks you online,” video at, (retrieved: 26 February 2013). (Watch it here)

“How the Pentagon Used Video Games to Spy on Users Worldwide,” Democracy Now! video at, (retrieved: 23 June 2013). (Watch it here)

“What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains [Epipheo.TV],” epipheo video at, (retrieved: 10 May 2013). (Watch it here)

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