Scare Story du Jour

Today it is scary smart phones that cause us harm.

But people become so obsessive about checking their email accounts and social networking sites that they actually become more stressed as a result, researchers said.

Some are so hooked to their devices that they even begin to experience “phantom” vibrations where they mistakenly believe their phone is buzzing in their pocket, it was claimed.

I’m beginning to think that maybe we should all just commit suicide at birth and save ourselves a great deal of trouble.

I can’t help wondering why anyone would want to do this research in the first place. I’ve got a smart(ish) phone. It isn’t one of those touch screen ones and it doesn’t have a querty keyboard, but I can use it to check my emails if I want to. Sometimes I do if I’m away from a computer, but as it’s pretty fiddly responding, I don’t. It can wait until I get back to a computer with a keyboard. As for social networking, I don’t do it, so not really an issue.

The thing is, if you get yourself worked up about these things, you will do it anyway, smart phone or not. So, really, the phone isn’t the problem. At best –  if there really is a problem –  it is a symptom.

Researchers issued questionnaires and carried out psychometric stress tests on more than 100 volunteers including students and employees from a variety of professions including retail and the public sector.

How many more than 100, I wonder? 101? It doesn’t sound like much to me. So, probably best filed as useless research using junk science designed to generate more research funding, then…


  1. I’m sure there was research to say that when texting came into vogue that “many” people had panic attacks when they didn’t receive a text every 15 seconds. And then Blackberries caused “many” to take them to bed with them so they could answer an email *immediately*.

    Any new technology will have those *few* who go madly obsessive over them. But it’s nothing to do with the tech and all to do with the person.

    Like that recent story about some French company (Renault?) closing down their Blackberry operations when the staff were off duty so that they didn’t receive any emails when at home and then get stressed when they didn’t answer them *immediately*.

    Me? I take my smartphone with me everywhere, especially the loo where I play. Play Solitaire before you get any naughty ideas. 😉

  2. It isn’t the smartphones we have to worry about, it’s the people willing to be convinced their lives will be diminised unless they have the latest model.

  3. When I shifted to a iPhone 4S something went wrong with my email & I can’t seem to sign in. Have I missed it? No.

    So long as Twitter doesn’t give up! That would be a disaster! 😆

  4. I can’t trace the reference but I recall reading something similar perhaps two years ago. Some groups of students were separated from all their technology and within a day something like a half of them were showing clinical signs of panic and distress.

    You may be right that there is some rent-seeking going on but I wouldn’t be so quick to scorn the point the research was making.

    Last year I went 6 months without a telly with no problems (the old one expired) but I will admit I do have the personal need for a broadband connection after more than a couple of days offline!

  5. I get the jitters if Julia doesn’t post something after a few hours. It’s reverse stalking, I think 🙂

    Before the Intarweb (and I was an early adopter) I was a compulsive reader. I now find reading pulpware tedious and spend my time on the Tube doing the Telegraph cryptic (relatively easy, you scoff).

    I take the Spectator, Private Eye and Viz, but nothing matches Leg Iron’s circle of friends – read the moment I sit down in the morning, the moment I get to the office, the moment I arrive home.

    I can do without it though. I’m a sailor in my spare time. If you can’t, you have to blame something else for being a moron.

    I liked it better when computers were dumb and users had to be smart.

  6. That sample size reminded me of the old “Hit me at 35 and you are twice as likely to kill me as hitting me at 30”.

    Although here the sample size was just 14 accidents.

    Perhaps they could start by taking a more representative cross-section of society as well as a sample of at least 1000.

  7. And the difference between “smart phones” and dipshits who, in the middle of a pre-arranged meeting (I.E arranged in advance by appointment), will then cut you off mid sentence, because “It’s the TELEPHONE, it could be important!”?

    My solution?

    Normaly to lean accross and cut them off, whilst asking “Is the reason I am here not fucking “important” then?”

    This works especially well, when THEY have made the appointment in the first place. A boss, or the tax office, or something.

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