Illustration: @sadrealityworld

Modern gadgets have made us slaves of machines. One good example is the smartphone, which now rules our lives. Many of us are unknowingly hooked on it – we feel cut off and incomplete without it; we compulsively check for messages, updates and battery life; we bring it with us to the toilet; and we even sleep with it.

According to data from the book, “The Power of Off”, most people now check their smartphones 150 times per day, or every 6 minutes. Young adults are now sending an average of 110 texts per day. 46% of smartphone users now say that their devices are something they “couldn’t live without”.

Studies have shown that many excessive phone checkers exhibit the same impulsive behaviour as drug and alcohol addicts.

In The World Unplugged Project, investigators at the University of Maryland in the US reported that “a clear majority” of students in the 10 countries studied experienced distress when they tried to go without their devices for 24 hours.

“I fear we are turning into digital robots,” writes Jane E. Brody in the New York Times article, “Hooked on Our Smartphones” (9 January 2017). “Will future generations know how to converse with one another face to face? Will they notice the birds, trees, sunrise and the people with whom they share the planet?”

6.9 billion people today – 85.7% of the world’s population – owns a smartphone. We should control how we use this tool so that it serves us and not hurt us.