The Psychology of Checking – Addiction to Technology

A Minimite Community (think Amish Community) were having a discussion about the use of public payphones.  They already had a prohibition on members of their community having personal telephones.  However, public pay-phones were never off limits and some Minimites were driving their buggies miles to use them, for what was considered less than urgent reasons, such as business transactions. ‘Frequent use of the phone, some felt, encouraged idle chatter, sped the pace of life, and reduced real-life contact with members of their community.'(1)

I don’t own a smart phone but almost on a daily basis a fellow pedestrian nearly walks into me whilst using one.  These are also people I never say hello to because they are always inside their phone.

The problem is that information delivered through technology is instantaneous and convenient.  It comes in all forms, from social media to games.  We miss access to this fast-information when we don’t have access to it.  And when we are away from it, we have a desire to “check” something on our phones, pads or computers etc.

I am just as guilty of “checking” with my computer.  I’ll just check facebook, or my email, or how are my WordPress stats getting on (no sure why I am worried about the five people who read my blog each day)?  Any updates on YouTube?

However, I have at least placed a big hurdle in front of my “checking” need.  Each time I use the computer I shut it down.  That means if I want to “check” something I will have to restart the computer and this takes a couple of minutes.  This delay is enough to make me think: ‘I can’t be bothered to restart my computer just to check my Facebook status’.  Which means that unless it is important, I don’t turn on the computer.

For those of you with smart phones, there probably isn’t any hope for you, except turning the damn thing off.


(1) Eric Brende – ‘Better Off…’


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