Do you know that the average Singaporean spend over 12 hours on their gadgets daily?
There is no other contraption in the world today that is more indispensable to our lives than the smartphone. While it was previously just a means of voice communication, a (frowned-upon) appendage for the selfie narcissists, the mobile phone is now ever more instrumental to our lives, particularly so in this post-covid world where social distancing and telecommuting has become the norm.
According to a research report by consultancy Ernst & Young, nearly 80 percent of the 1,000 Singaporeans they interviewed on mobile usage shared that they check their phones before and after sleeping. Our dependency on our smartphone has been further accelerated by the current pandemic.
To avoid catching the insidious bug, we contact trace with our phones. When confined at home, we isolate ourselves from others and swipe left on our phones hoping to meet some virtual Mr or Miss Right for companionship. To protect ourselves and prevent germs from spreading, we pay with our phones. The Singapore government is on a fervent digital frenzy to get all their hawkers to jump on the Smart Nation bandwagon, extending a Hawker’s Productivity Grant capped at $5000 over three years just so that Hawkers can all be ready to accept digital payments in time for the fourth industrial revolution. According to CNBC, it is expected that nearly three quarters of the world will use just their smartphones by 2025.
Of course, with the increasing popularity of mobile phones among people comes the sharply contested debate as to whether or not we can live without our phones. Are we becoming slaves to our devices? While there is a valid case to be argued that cell phones are evidently addictive and can lead to possible anti-social behaviours and even social disorientation. Some pundits have even coined the phrase “Nomophobia” an abbreviation for “no-mobile-phone phobia” to describe a condition where people have an extreme dependency on their phones and develop anxiety when they cannot use their phones.
Even our last line of defence, our seniors have fallen prey to the cell phone. The silver generation previously heralded as the naysayers of mobile phones and social media have become new converts of the technology. Under the circuit breaker, some seniors have been embracing technology that was previously unfamiliar to them and they are bonding with their loved ones through their phones. According to IMDA, 76 percent of seniors in Singapore in 2019, a significant leap from just 18 percent in 2013.
Will we ever be freed from the clutches of that alluring glass body with OLED display and facial recognition? Wait, let me Google it on my phone.
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