Posted by: Upāsaka | 10/09/2017

Smartphone Addiction

For a so-called serious student of the Dhamma it feels almost shameful to admit how attached I am to the use of my smartphone. Whether it’s reading on the Kindle or Scribd app, listening to Dhamma talks on YouTube or commenting and chatting on Facebook, I spend an inordinate amount of time and energy on my phone. Each time it buzzes or bleeps I reach for it and, even during those stretches of silence I find myself compulsively checking it. Naturally, the quality of my awareness and attention has been slowly eroding over the years and I finally am at the point where I want to do something about it. The compulsion to check my phone feels exactly as the same as the compulsion to smoke a cigarette used to and that is simply a shackle I do not wish to take with me to the grave.

For now, I’m disabling most of the auditory and haptic notifications and intend to carry my phone in a pouch that blocks signals and radiation. I have already resolved to check Facebook only 3 times a day but now I will resolve, again, not to use my phone in transit, while walking or in the company of others. I intend to use my phone a s much as possible as a phone. Study after study has shown how these phones are making us less smart, less attentive, more isolated and more anxious. The fact that we so willingly give these things up to have instant access to a collection of facts and opinions is telling. Regardless, if my goal in this life is to make a path to the Deathless, my smartphone’s incessant dinging isn’t going to be of help. May I learn to use it as a tool and use it as such. Wish me luck!


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