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There are those times of desire, need, intense need. . . . We stare wantingly at the smartphone on a desk or end table waiting--nay begging--to be picked up.

Our minds race. . . . We wipe that drop of sweat from our brow. Our hearts beat a little faster. We shake with anticipation as we try to resist but can't. . . . Our hands reach with a speed and precision that affords the perfect grip as we grab our phones and . . . .


Sweet relief.

Call it smartphone addiction.

Yes, it's real. Psychologists have even come up with a name for it: nomophobia. It is the fear of being without one's phone.

In 2013, Psychology Today said it affected 40 percent of the population. A year later, that figure grew to 66 percent and included a deeper dive:

Sixty-five percent, or about 2 in 3 people, sleep with or next to their smartphones. (Among college students, it's even higher). Thirty-four percent admitted to answering their cellphone during intimacy with their partner. One in 5 people would rather go without shoes for a week than take a break from their phone. More than half never switch off their phone. (That's an addiction.)

The first point's probably not indicative of much. Many people use their phones as alarms clocks.

The others points are problematic, but there could be an app for that. (Of course.) Austrian designer Klemens Schillinger has created something called Substitute Phone designed to wean people from their smartphone addictions.

The facsimile phones are "made of black polyoxymethylene plastic with stone beads embedded in the surface, which allows a user to replicate familiar actions, such as scrolling, pinching or swiping."


The devices are not yet for sale. But their creation does raise the question of whether a such a device could peel people away from their smartphones in a way similar to how e-cigarettes and vaping devices have allowed people to quit smoking.

Our jury's out.

But maybe Schillinger knows something we don't. Once his faux devices go on sale, the market will provide the answer.

Editorial on 12/06/2017

Print Headline: Phone addiction

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