Think you are not addicted to your smartphone? Think again

Smartphone addiction is growing and is only one of many legal addictions in our lives. Legal addiction like Starbucks can be a great way for a company to grow, but something is now starting to happen that everyone needs to understand.

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People all over the country, and in fact all over the entire world, have become addicted to their wireless smartphone, apps and services. And it’s only getting worse with every year that passes. New apps that help us manage, monitor, use and do everything in our lives are popping up every day. We love what this technology can do for us. We write about it and talk about it, but we don’t discuss how addictive these are to us.

We’ve all watched in amazement as the wireless industry has grown and changed, time and time again over the last several decades. During the last decade the industry has become a very different place. Growth has exploded with the Apple iPhone, Google Android and Samsung Galaxy smartphones. Apps have exploded from a few hundred a decade ago, to more than two million today.

Smartphone addiction is growing, it’s legal and is big business

Expect this wireless explosion to continue its rapid growth wave. More carriers are offering smartphones. More companies are offering other technologies like pay TV in competition with the cable TV industry. That’s why cable TV is moving into the smartphone world.

Today, cars are starting to be equipped with new wireless and interactive technology. We get updates to our automobile navigation and dashboard applications, wirelessly. In fact, every industry is jumping onto this same bandwagon.

Artificial intelligence is also starting to move into this same kind of addictive space. When we use our Google Home or Amazon Echo for everything, it creeps deeper and deeper into our souls. While this technology is amazing and we all love it, we must realize every step we take forward into this addictive land will have an impact on our lives going forward.

AI like Google Home and Amazon Echo are also addictive

Now these AI services like Apple Siri, Google Android, Microsoft Cortana and more are moving into our cars, our refrigerators, everything. As this continues, the risk gets higher and higher that we will lose our ability to take care of ourselves without it.  

Wireless is the center of the universe. That’s the good part if you are a wireless company, worker, investor or customer. However, as users, we also must pay attention to the addictive slice of the pie.

In fact, addiction goes beyond the smartphone. We live in an addictive world. Companies think of ways to build an addictive product line. The benefits are obvious. When your customers are addicted, they come back time and time again, just like a drug addict or alcoholic.

Companies build addictive products and services

Just think about your average day. Do you like Starbucks coffee? How many times a day do you grab a cup? Starbucks is a legal addiction. The same thing with Coca Cola or Pepsi Cola. We all probably drink too much of this, but we can’t help it, it’s an addiction.

Legal addictions are a great business model. They lead to continued growth. However, this can be a problem for those who are addicted. Think about the cigarette industry and how that has been impacted over time. Cigarettes are legal, but they are also harmful to your health.

Cigarettes were around forever, and no one ever knew they were a problem. Decades later we learned over time. Could the same thing happen with our addiction to technology?

Going forward will we find that technology addiction will ultimately be harmful to our health? If so, will the government step in with their massive efforts to educate and impact growth? We are just starting to open this door with complaints of privacy invasion and all sorts of other problems.

We are finally talking about tech and social network addiction

Finally, we are starting to talk about this kind of problem. Finally, pressure is starting to be brought to bear on companies who have used this to grow, without concern for the mental health of their customers. I expect this wave will continue to build.

Now is the time for every company in the space to start paying attention and stay ahead of the curve. If not, they will get clobbered at some point.

Social networks are another addiction. If you are a regular user of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and others, you can understand their addictive nature.

So are digital games. There are often news stories about addicted players who check out of life, stay in their pajamas all weekend and play these games without eating or sleeping.

Companies all want to create an addictive business model

Addictive businesses are what many try to create. It’s a natural for business growth and success. While this has never been a problem in the past, suddenly we are paying closer attention to this growing addiction problem.

Believe it or not, that’s a good thing. Every one of us needs balance in our lives. We can have a good mix of strong growth while watching out for the addiction problem.

I’m not saying we can’t love what we do on a daily basis. But when we cross over the line and become addicted, it can take its toll on the rest of our lives. Just ask those who are dealing with drug or alcohol addiction. So many of us have seen the damage this can do to people we know and love.

I love new technology, but am always careful

I absolutely love new technology like smartphones and wireless service and how they are transforming our lives. However, for our own good, going forward we must take special care with the way we handle these topics. This is important.

It’s always better if the companies understand these problems and solve them on their own. When the government steps in, it’s often overkill. The choice is either companies carefully operate on themselves with their own scalpel, or the government comes in with their chain saw.

So, we are just starting to understand the problem. That’s step one. The next step as we keep learning more is, what will each company and each industry do to deal with this threat. Growth should continue, but we must be responsible and make sure we care for ourselves in the process.

The path we take going forward is up to the companies and the industries. It will be interesting to watch this issue develop over time and see the different ways companies react.

Copyright © 2018 IDG Communications, Inc.

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