The Mobile Phone Addiction

A year or two ago, the Gotham Gal and I were at dinner and were seated next to a young couple. It wasn’t clear if the young couple were on a date, or they were in a relationship, or they were married. We didn’t ask. But they were on their phones for the entire dinner. They did not talk to each other much, if at all. That scene bothers me. I see it all the time in one way or another.

My mobile phone addiction has waned over the years. The worst was the early Blackberry years of the late 90s. I couldn’t keep my Blackberry in my pocket. It was not good. I learned over time how to manage the addiction and by the time the smartphone arrived, I had largely conquered that urge to pull the phone out to distract, disengage, and go somewhere else. I still do it, but I am aware of the urge, and resist it constantly.

Last weekend, we arrived at a restaurant early for a dinner with a friend. The place was packed and the area around the bar was jammed. They asked us to wait at the bar until our table was free and our friend arrived. We were getting pushed and bumped into. Waiters and waitresses were constantly asking to get through. It was not pleasant. We couldn’t even get to the bar to order a drink. I felt this powerful urge to pull out my phone and distract myself from all of that craziness. But I decided to keep my phone in my pocket and just stand there and be present in the chaos. So that’s what I did. But that urge to pull out the phone was powerful. It’s a drug like any other drug.

I see my kids and their generation struggle with this addiction. When a text comes in, they can’t ignore it. They have to grab the phone and see who it is. And as the conversation goes on, they can’t put the phone down even if there are people in the room they can easily converse with. And it is not just the generation that grew up with a phone in their pocket. It is all of us.

The worst of it is in the car. Texting and driving is a scourge. We must find a solution to that. Maybe its a societal movement, like the way we have approached drunk driving. Or maybe its a technological solution. I’ve written about that before.

Having a powerful computer in our pocket that is connected to billions of computers in other pockets in real time is the reality of our time. And it is a drug. And we are all addicted to it in some ways. Being aware of the addiction and working on controlling it has helped me a lot over the years and I encourage everyone to work on it. You can either control it or it will control you.


Comments (Archived):

  1. LIAD

    FOMO + YOLO = #YOMOorFOMO + YOLO = #FOLOeither way – gimme my damn phone.

    1. Lucas Dailey

      I think #YOMO sums up the result of FOMO + YOLO = You Only Miss Out. On the present.

  2. JimHirshfield

    I have a mobile phone contract with my teen daughter. It outlines at least a dozen possible violations that could lead to confiscation of the phone. It includes points like, no phone usage at the dinner table or while in conversation with other people.

    1. feargallkenny

      hey jim. I Hope all is well. Do share.

      1. JimHirshfield

        {kid’s name}’s Mobile Phone ContractThis contract between Mommy & Daddy and {kid’s name} seeks to establish family rules and consequences regarding cell phone usage.{kid’s name}’s Responsibilities· I will not send threatening or mean texts to others· I will not text or place phone calls after 9 p.m. on school nights or from home on weekends· I will keep my phone charged at all times· I will not bring my cell phone to the family dinner table during meals· I will not use my cell phone when people are speaking to me in person· If I am asked to turn off, stop playing, or stop using my phone I will do so immediately in a respectful manner· I will not go over our plan’s monthly minutes or text message limits. If I do, I understand that I may be responsible for paying any additional charges or that I may lose my cell phone privileges· I understand that I am responsible for knowing where my phone is, and for keeping it in good condition· I understand that my cell phone may be taken away if I talk back to my parents, I fail to do my chores, or I fail to keep my grades up· I will obey rules of etiquette regarding cell phones in public places. I will make sure my phone is turned off when I am in synagogue, church, school, or quiet settings such as libraries· I will obey any rules my school has regarding cell phones, such as turning them off during class, or keeping them on vibrate while riding the school bus· I promise I will alert my parents when or if I receive suspicious or alarming phone calls or text messages from people I don’t know· I will not message or engage with someone and then delete it or hide it from my parents· I will alert my parents if I am being harassed by someone via my cell phone· I will not use my cell phone to bully anyone· I will send no more than a reasonable number of texts per day· I will never buy anything through my phone without my parent’s permission· I will never give my passwords to anyone except my parents· I will give access to my phone to my parents whenever they ask· I understand that having a cell phone can be helpful in a emergency, but I know that I must still practice good judgment and make good choices that will keep me out of trouble or out of danger· I will not send embarrassing photos of myself, my family or friends to others or post them on the Internet. In addition, I will not use my phone’s camera to take embarrassing photos of others· I understand that having a cell phone is a privilege, and that if I fail to adhere to this contract, my cell phone privilege may be taken awayMommy & Daddy’s Responsibilities· Mommy & Daddy understand that they will make themselves available to answer any questions {kid’s name} might have about owning a cell phoneand using it responsibly· Mommy & Daddy will support {kid’s name} when she alerts us to an alarming message or text message that she has received· Mommy & Daddy will alert {kid’s name} if our cell phone plan changes and impacts the plan’s minutes· Mommy & Daddy will give {kid’s name} a warning before they take her cell phone away[signature block]

        1. Matt Zagaja

          Presumably this contract is for a plan with unlimited data usage ;).

          1. JimHirshfield

            Yes. But written to accommodate limited plan.

        2. panterosa,

          I am lifting this.

          1. JimHirshfield

            Go for it!

    2. William Mougayar

      that’s pretty good.

      1. JimHirshfield


  3. kirklove

    I’m proud you put your phone away at Breakfast club :)In all seriousness, it’s def a drug, though more apt it’s an excuse to not be present (or alone) in the moment. I’m proud of you, that you realized that. Yes, it’s become increasingly difficult though when you are truly present it’s ridiculously more rewarding.

  4. bobmonsour

    I hear you Fred. I find myself having the same urge from time to time, but have worked to keep my phone in my pocket at the times it should be there, i.e., when I’m walking on the street and when I’m in my car. If I’m on the street and need to map where I’m heading, I “pull over” and do that and then put the phone back in my pocket.I went into San Francisco yesterday to meet a good friend for lunch and as I walked the streets near Union Square (the western version), I was struck by the number of phone drones walking the streets, seemingly very unaware of their path on the street or who they might run into. I found it a bit disturbing. Full disclosure, I’ll be 60 this year.

    1. Supratim Dasgupta

      I see the same in NYC. People climbing slippery stairs. crossing streets when it says dont walk, jaywalking. Even saw a heavy truck driver plowing through an intersection almost crushing 5 people

  5. William Mougayar

    The average mobile user pulls their phone 150 times per day, i.e. each 6 minutes. Louis CK Hates Cell Phones too.

    1. fyodortekevsky

      Ah, yes, sir…this being overly conscious is a sickness, a real, thorough sickness.

  6. JimHirshfield

    This from NPR just a few days ago:If you’ve ever felt like your smartphone was getting in the way of a breakthrough thought, you may not be off base. Research suggests that our brains need downtime and that people have some of their most creative ideas when they’re bored. The constant distraction of our phones can get in the way of that.

    1. karen_e

      We stopped giving our child an iPad when driving from Boston into the mountains of NH. Looking at the windows and being a little bored is good for him, and I’m his mom, so I get to decide that.

      1. JimHirshfield

        Good one!

  7. Jorge M. Torres

    Today’s post reminds me of the Black Mirror series from the UK. Check it out if you want a somewhat dark view of the near future. I really liked it.

  8. WA

    Continuous, partial, attention. I am concerned about the connectivity in vehicles for this precise reason. It is unbeleivable how many police in vehicles, as well, are engaged in their onboard computers while driving in South Florida and also on their cell phones. In addition there are no hand free laws down here either.

  9. William Mougayar

    Guilty as charged. Is there a Smartphone Anonymous group nearby?I need an App where you can set the time interval between phone usage, and it locks itself in-between those times. Or you can set to a daily maximum of usages, then when you exceed that….you start to feel dumber.

    1. Supratim Dasgupta

      Lets build this!!!

    2. kevando

      Great idea. Just match the Hacker News profile settings 🙂

  10. christopolis

    an insurance discount in exchange for disabling your phone while driving seems like a good idea

    1. paulmg

      Interesting…if activated by the user the app mentioned above could provide a report to an insurer on phone usage while driving. Perhaps with a Waze-like “I’m a passenger” workaround.

    2. pointsnfigures

      It’s why they are working so feverishly on driverless cars.

  11. Eliot Pierce

    I have been using an app called Forest to help me focus and avoid looking at my phone. I grow a tree for the 30 minutes that I don’t use my phone, and if I do use my phone during the 30 minutes, the tree dies…

    1. Eric Friedman

      Thanks for sharing this – I am going to give this a try

    2. Cillian Barry

      Nice idea, any other similar Apps out there?

    3. kev polonski

      Lorax “Let it die” (… is dancing like a demon around you, tempting you to kill that tree!

  12. Eric Friedman

    I started asking friends to stack phones on the table a few years ago to avoid the temptation. It has worked very well and I try to do this as much as possible (little harder when you don’t know the folks well or its a work event) but it has led to a much better dinner conversation. Exceptions are always made for folks with emergencies going on – but in general many people I talk to about this tactic are very eager to have their phone taken away and added to the pile.

    1. kev polonski

      What are you going to do with the Apple Watch, if as Mr. Cook claims you can’t live without it? “Everyone, please put your phones and your watches on the table.”A few years later, when wearables have taken over sanity, “Everyone, please put your phone, your watch and your wifi, Bluetooth or microchip implanted clothing. Oh no! no! Please leave your undergarments on! Please have mercy!”Introducing wifi underwear … that directs you to the nearest restroom in an emergency!

    2. JimHirshfield

      Nice strategy. Have you also played the game where everyone puts their keys in a bowl?

      1. pointsnfigures

        Swinger Flicks for $100 Alex

        1. JimHirshfield


  13. Cillian Barry

    The urge is strong! I was without a charger for 24 hours recently and so I was closely managing my usage, quiet enjoyed it, conscious to avoid the check on a whim moments and so had some discipline put on me. Made for a better, more present day and work certainly didn’t suffer

    1. Supratim Dasgupta

      Now thats a good idea! There are days am so busy flying, driving, meeting customers. I rarely get to check my phone. But during those days i dont miss checking my phone a zillion times at all.

      1. Cillian Barry

        yep, bit like most bad habits,

        1. Supratim Dasgupta


  14. howardlindzon

    i read this on 6 screens. i win.

    1. Richard

      Fred never could get his April fools jokes timing down 🙂

  15. Supratim Dasgupta

    I was addicted to Facebook and spent a zillion hours on it until one day just decided to close my account for forever. Never missed it for a even a single day.Now am thinking of ditching my smartphone and just getting a regular cellphone and see if I can conquer the same addiction. Will report back my results here.My parents were here with me for 6 months and they noticed me constantly tinkering with the phone in middle of conversations, dinners, driving etc. Mom said its an addiction and there is really nothing useful & learning about it. I log close to 5 hours a day checking my phone. I think she is right.On another note, smartphones have led to rise in infidelity, divorce and other social problems. These are as dangerous as texting and driving.

  16. Lucky

    Fred,I agree with you 100% on this especially with texting and driving. A friend of mine recently did this and ended up in the hospital. His femur snapped in half. I couldn’t believe it but being away from your cell phone is an actual phobia. (Nomophobia).

  17. Lucas Dailey

    “Fred appears to be driving, do you want your message to interrupt him?”[Yes (in red)/ No (in green}]Mobile OSs should be able to tell when you’re driving. Low bar: based on GPS-based movement speed. High bar: Based on when/where speed changed (to determine mass transit vs driving/cabbing).If the OS suspended all notification (maybe except for the sms override above), you’d solve a huge percentage of the problem overnight. Of course the user should be able to override it, but a simple PSA-style override message would give enough pause to change behavior for many.”Texting while driving is similar to drunk driving, are you sure you want to?”[Yes (in red)/ No (in green}]One of the best tools to change behavior is to change the environment. The mobile OS is that environment.Plus, tie a feature like that into insurance records..

    1. paulmg

      Verizon message (SMS app) uses a bluetooth connection to the phone as an identifier of driving with an easy “I’m not driving” button.

      1. Lucas Dailey

        So if you’re using the app, pair with a headset, you then see that warning window which you must then tap in order to send/view messages?

    2. Kirsten Lambertsen

      I would love to see this for *walking*, too. It’s almost impossible to walk around NYC now with everyone looking down at their phone. My phone is also a pedometer, so it definitely knows when I’m walking.

      1. PhilipSugar

        See my comment I so agree. I can’t help think what could be so f’ing important.

  18. AlexBangash

    The best, most addictive feed is the email feed on the cellphone.Our dopamine actually surges in advance of finding something satisfying. This is same gambling instinct found in slot machines, facebook/twitter feed, and video games.Intermittent fasting is the answer: food, speaking, and cellphone.

  19. ErikSchwartz

    I have two cell phones, both are linked to the same google voice number.I have my smartphone I use during the day.I have my old flip phone I use when out to dinner with my wife or out with my kids.Life is what is going on when you look up from your smartphone.

    1. JamesHRH

      That is an interesting solution.I have finally convinced my wife that a smartphone absolutely can contribute to a wonderful evening out. She actually pulled her iPhone out to fill in the blanks on an interesting discussion with our children, when we are out at our favourite diner last weekend.Its a question of respect & discipline.As for driving, it should carry a mandatory prison term if you cause an accident due to a criminal level of self importance.

      1. Apple Lane Farm

        Big reader albeit minor contributor. My husband does not have email, well a gmail account that forwards to me, never opens a browser except the one to check his bank account. His only reason for a smartphone was he got tired of me pulling up all the weather apps and he couldn’t. He now has my old iphone 5 and complains it’s not like he’s 4, could care less about Siri, and frankly endures new technology for simply real good weather apps.. Beware, there are a ton of very smart people with awesome jobs doing awesome work that (at least the metro Boston area needs) that really have no interest in what’s coming.Just saying, there’s the “normals” that make up a huge part of the world, and even those that have savvy partners still have no interest.All that said, I truly believe the unbanked crowd is still ripe for disruption. GreenDot in early 2000’s.

    2. fyodortekevsky

      You are certainly correct. But we are fickle and disreputable creatures, and perhaps we are more interested in engaging in the technological process of connection than the life goings on.

    3. pointsnfigures

      great idea and might steal it.

    4. davideous

      I disabled the web browser on my phone by enabling the “parental controls” and writing the access code number in a book. It’s been freeing.I still feel the urge to pull out the phone for distraction, but much less so.

    5. Blake

      Yep, similar concept here. My phone is a Samsung B2710:email:yep, IMAPSbrowser:Opera Minibluetooth tether 3G inet to laptop: yepother must-have apps:Google Maps, built-in GPS, 2MP camera w/flashalso nice:SD card slot, MP3 playerIP67, waterproof, shockproof, powerful flashlight, big lanyard loopbattery life:>5dayscost:<$100It’s not very good at being anything other than a very reliable phone, but it does do other more advanced things in a pinch when you really need them. Also I have taken pictures of fish with it while snorkeling :-).My other mobile device is a Nexus 7 LTE, with a duplicate sim in it. I only carry it when I’m going somewhere for a while & know that I’ll need a terminal (i.e. I don’t commute with it or carry it around town unless I know I’ll need it). In airplane mode the battery lasts plenty long. I turn on the radios & GPS when I need them & otherwise its back into airplane mode. The user experience is way better than any phone-sized device due to the much larger screen, & yet it still fits in a pants or coat pocket (don’t sit on it). Very handy in away-from-the-office meetings too.Even if the tablet runs out of battery, I still have a phone, plus I can talk on the phone & use the tablet at the same time. Both of these devices together cost about half the price of an iPhone.

      1. ErikSchwartz

        My flip phone is a Moto W385. Voice, SMS, poor camera, a week of battery on a single charge. I bought it no contract on eBay for ~$20. It runs on VZWMy smartphone is a Oneplus One. It’s got a no contract Cricket SIM in it.

        1. JimHirshfield

          OnePlus One +1….me too 🙂

    6. js

      I see a few people commenting on this and it’s awesome to see others that have a “disconnect” device. If anyone is interested i’m working on a minimalist phone with an epaper display and 3 week battery. We’re launching this summer. You can check it out here if you’re interested: Any feedback is welcome!

    7. dtopel

      Would love if the mobile OS’s supported a feature phone mode that one could switch on easily and off with either some work like a passphrase or after a configurable time delay.A second phone is wasteful and not easy to digest after one gets used to the polished UX and hardware aesthetics of an iPhone for instance.

    8. Supratim Dasgupta

      This is exactly how am going to combat my addiction!

      1. THOM K. SHEA

        Hey, it’s me again! I noticed that you mentioned something about combating your addiction! If I may ask? What addiction? I have quite a bit of personal experience pertaining to the addictive minds and lives of addiction. It has been a life long struggle for me, yet, I , being obstinent, persistant, consistant, I have finally grasped the demon by the horns, and now am proud that next Friday, I will celebrate my 9th year, clean and sober, so if you want someone to talk to, I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to listen and give you some of my personal experiences! Who knows, we more than likely help each other?? Ring my bell! Give me a g-mail anytime, day or night, I’m usually up. PEACE!

    9. Dave Pinsen

      Clever. Eliminates the emergency excuse.

  20. RichardF

    I understand teenagers wanting to get their phones out, particularly when they are with their parents. They don’t want to be “present” usually when they are with their parents! and their mobile takes them to where they would rather be.Adults not so much, it’s just bad manners but that’s also probably a generational thing.Using a mobile whilst driving – been on the end of someone doing that, now if I see it I just want to punch them in the face….. politely of course!

  21. ForexBonus Lab

    Why didn’t you just use your phone to make a reservation upfront?:)I can’t say people are addicted to mobile phones though. I’d say people are addicted to the Internet. What would you do on the phone if there was no connection?

  22. Rick_Robinson

    On a similar note, i posted this on Facebook and got a lot of empathetic responses. We’re causing our kids so much undue stress… I think what tech creates tech can take away:When asking a group of young teens if I built a magical app that could flip like a switch all their social media postings to “off,” making them instantly invisible across all their social platforms, allowing them to let down their guards, exhale and get some rest “would they use it?” they uniformly and without hesitation formed a chorus of “yes!” Kids have enough anxiety without the unnecessary river of pollution they’re compelled to filter 18 hours each day. Let’s give them a real off switch; let’s build a damn. Let’s let them rest.

    1. Jake Baker

      To be fair, this is called airplane mode (MVP for the app at least). I have tried to solve the “pull out your phone” problem by keeping my phone in airplane mode significantly more often. This allows me to consciously control when I check for notifications. It’s not perfect, but it’s certainly a partial solution.

      1. Rick_Robinson

        True. But this does not cloak all your current and ongoing activity … people can still see and respond / troll it.

        1. Jake Baker

          Totally. It’s a pair of blinders vs. actually withdrawing from the online community. Still – step 1 of a multi-step process. Great idea all the same!

          1. pointsnfigures

            I wrote a post with a similar bent-I postulated that kids are starting fewer companies today because of social media-in spite of what social media can do to generate an audience

  23. neddenriep

    One of the unintended benefits of the iPhone 6 Plus for me is that it is SO unwieldy that I pull it out much less often. It is really a two handed commitment to do anything useful – and I really appreciate that now. I’m less distracted by it!

  24. tyronerubin

    Work a watch – From One Second To The Next – A Film By Werner Herzog – It Can Wait…

  25. @billg

    smartwatches = the ‘methadone’ program for smartphone addiction 🙂

  26. PhilipSugar

    If you envision yourself saying to the person you are with: “Fuck you piece of shit you are less important than a random person” each time you pull your phone out when you are in the presence of other people it helps.Because that is really what you are saying. Sometimes its true.You know I haven’t lived in NY for years. I really noticed what a pain in the ass people walking with their phones have become. Really tempts you to blast into them instead of moving out of the way of their clueless self absorbed walking.

    1. LE

      To me there really isn’t anything worse then being in the middle of a conversation with someone who is then interrupted by a phone call or a text but continues to allow you to speak as if they are actually listening to what you are saying. Obviously they aren’t and I find that one of the most annoying things. At least if they are going to do that (for some reason) then say “wait a second” in other words don’t allow them to continue to talk and act like you are listening. Because you aren’t.Somewhat related, I remember when I was in my 20’s I had a meeting with an important customer (of a large company) who wanted to do some joint venture thing. Right after the meeting started his secretary walked in and told him so and so was on the phone. So he smiled at me and then took the call all the time animating his face as if I should give a shit that he had this call (which was good for him). It may have lasted 5 or 10 minutes but I remember distinctly thinking what a “tool” he was for not excusing himself from the room instead of just essentially saying “this is more important that you are”. Of course it was more important and I knew that but it didn’t help him that he was so obvious about it. (My point is “less important” feels bad no matter what the reason is.)

      1. PhilipSugar

        You are right this is pre-dates cellphones. I remember a partner I had that would pickup the phone during meetings. I would just walk out.Seriously when you look down at a text you just got instead of me you are saying that anybody is more important than me. I am at the bottom of the barrel.Hey, if you tell me upfront: Look I am waiting for this call and if it comes in it is more important than you. I am fine with that. Because that happens and its ok, but not just any random call or text.

        1. LE

          When I was a kid my dad was an importer of giftware from Israel. So in the 70’s there was all this middle east conflict and we would be riding in the car and there would be a news report about some bombing or problem in the middle east and he would immediately hush me and turn up the radio (KYW1060). This was happening all the time. As a kid I was really hurt by this. My uncle did it as well. Nightly news was about Vietnam and don’t remember any issues with him caring about that though.I think that is where I get an extra sensitivity (similar to what you are describing above).Hey, if you tell me upfrontRight. The preamble shows a social clue. I actually have theories on all of this. Even if you lie to people (like if you give a BS reason why you can’t come to their party) you are telling them “you are important enough that I am making something up because I am considering your feelings and you are important enough for me to put in the effort not to hurt you in any way”.My wife sometimes has work events which she, for whatever reason, would rather not have me attend (I hypothesize). She doesn’t say “I don’t want you there” she tells me “you don’t have to come if you don’t want because I think it will be boring for you”. So she is showing me the respect and making me think it’s my decision. All that packaging is really important in getting through life I have found.

          1. pointsnfigures

            Being from the pits I am sort of used to distractions in conversations. Happened all the time. But, in the real world, it shouldn’t.

    2. Steven Lowell

      Amen Philip and you are not missing anything.I cannot tell you the amount of times people have literally noticed me driving but then went right back to looking down at their phones, then shot me dirty looks. I one time screamed at the window, “Tell girlfriend you almost died because she’s more important than the 2 ton car driving at you! [followed by lots of cussing]”The idea of “Bowling for Pedestrians” comes and goes.

    3. awaldstein

      There is subtlety here.If you are on the move all day, 4 different meeting places, 3 scheduled calls and clients, the phone is essential.Phones are a gift to urban on the move lifestyle. Directions, coordination, change of plans, reservations for food, call a car, check the train schedule.The idea is not when to pick up the phone but when to put it down.

      1. PhilipSugar

        I think the phone is totally essential. Can’t imagine my life of 250k miles of travel a year without it. It has changed my life, very much for the better. Lost it for a week in a lie flat seat from Doha to Singapore, even though I had a loaner phone it was crippling.See my comment below: Yes if you are waiting for a call or have a special ringtone for special people no issue. I once got up from a very important meeting because my Dad called. I announced that is my Dad and he never calls I am going to take this, same for school. Wife knows to call me twice if urgent, once if not.But if you and I are talking, even just over a glass of wine, I stand by my statement.

        1. awaldstein

          I think we agree.I just blame the device less and push the onus on behavior.Raising a kid through the Walkman, through hand held single function games of every type to luggables to portables.There is always something.Glass of wine is always there for you Phil.

          1. PhilipSugar

            We agree. When my Dad says I want Fish and Chips on Friday when I took him to Phoenix to see my brothers kids. I am going to pull out that phone, find a place, look at the reviews and menu, plug it into Google Maps and get to that place. When we get there I will say let me just check this quick to see that nothing is blowing up at work.But when we are sharing a meal, that phone is in my pocket on mute.

          2. awaldstein

            What’s most interesting is the change of interrupt mode.My cell phone # has been out there publicly for years. I get almost no interrupt calls.For me a phone call is a must take for family, work, whatever. People send a text usually and like you, my phone is away and I don’t notice. If it rings, I answer.I can’t wean myself from the fact that somethings need to be addressed now, and that trigger to me is a call.

          3. PhilipSugar

            Hey, if we are having a glass of wine and you get a call and say I only get calls when they are really important. Fine. I know where I stand, I am seriously ok with that.But if you are sitting there checking the phone under the table I also know where I stand.That is another peeve. Does anybody really think you can’t see what they are doing?? It should be an indicator that you know you are doing something wrong. Just proudly put it out there if you have to, don’t hide it under the table.

          4. awaldstein

            yup.i honestly think everyone’s time is valuable and should be respected, including of course, mine.One rule for many situations.

          5. LE

            Was your dad in business? The way I was raised business always came first, period. Never questioned at all, it was always the most important thing. Even when my family had family holiday dinners my parents had no issue if I said “I will be late I have things to do at work”. Or “can’t be there before 8pm”.I think that’s a hard concept to understand for people who have never started a business from scratch and/or have worked in a corporate job.What’s funny is that in medicine nobody every questions when a doctor has to work or if they get interrupted. My wife is a doctor and we literally joke about the “get out of jail free” card that she has as a result. By “nobody questions” I mean they don’t ask “can’t she schedule her call on another night?”. I go by the same standard really. Don’t ever question when I have to work or what I have to do work wise since you (say you are my sister) are not going to bail me out of the mess that I have if I don’t make sure that “nothing is blowing up at work”.

          6. PhilipSugar

            My Dad was a very senior executive for a very large oil company. He traveled a ton, not on commercial airlines.He never took calls once he got home.

  27. Matt A. Myers

    Distraction from the present moment is one of society’s biggest problems right now.One of the interview questions I had for Michael Stone, when I was getting video for the I Live Yoga crowdfunding campaign video, was asking him what his favourite yoga or Buddhist joke was:”If you wanted to keep something secret, where would you hide it? In the present moment.”

  28. Steven Lowell

    I always saw the logical response to this dilemma will be self-driving cars. They will eventually go mainstream as the younger generation gets older and feels more accountable to people on their phones, not in front of them.People, especially US consumers, tend to think “It is not me. It is everyone else.” and instead of taking accountability, the problem must be new technology has not provided a solution yet. So, as I drive down the streets of Manhattan omw home from work at midnight, I have to wonder why the smartest people in NYC are staring down at their phones dressed all stylish in black clothing, while crossing a dimly lit street.They wont stop that lack of common sense behavior. They will just invent new technology to make sure their addiction is not disrupted.

  29. LE

    Waiters and waitresses were constantly asking to get through. It was not pleasant.I was at Walt Disney World a few weeks ago. Although I have been there many times before this time I wondered immediately “why doesn’t Disney supply an app that will help you get around the inside of the park”.At first it seemed like a no brainer to me. Then a minute later I realized “they can’t do that if they give people an app (or support in some way the use of one) everyone will be walking around with their heads to the screen bumping into everyone else.” Have you ever been in some of the thick of that stuff? It’s crowded like a NYC subway. And of course similar to a supermarket wanting you to get lost Disney want’s you to pass by and find things that you weren’t looking for. At least that’s my theory. [1][1] Part of my “if something doesn’t make sense there is probably a reason for it that you haven’t considered”.

  30. Kirsten Lambertsen

    We definitely need a campaign against texting while driving, along the lines of the campaign against smoking. It’s insanely dangerous.I’ll never forget the *one* time I thought I’d glance at a text while driving (about 30 mph). I got three words in and then glanced up just in time to lock up the brakes to avoid plowing right into the car in front of me. Mortifying. I may have been looking down all of two seconds. That’s all it took. I needed no convincing thereafter that only assholes text and drive.Maybe the DMV should make everyone operate a simulator while trying to text so that they can experience how dangerous it is first hand.

    1. LE

      Yeah agree a close call is all it takes to put the fear of god in you.

      1. Richard

        The thought of decades in prison should help too

        1. Kirsten Lambertsen

          Definitely went through my mind at the moment. Along with my life flashing before my eyes.

    2. PhilipSugar

      You know I can’t figure out what is that important. I consider myself an important person that is wanted by a lot of important people for a ton of important things (modesty has never been my strong suit), but I don’t have the need. What could be so urgent?

    3. Geoff

      In the UK its illegal Texting whilst driving therefore is an offence if the phone (or other device) has to be held in order to operate it.Mobile phone use – Maximum penaltiesIf you accept a roadside fixed penalty notice, you will receive 3 points on your licence and a fine of £60. If a case goes to court, in addition to points, you could face discretionary disqualification on top of a maximum fine of £1,000 (or £2,500 in the case of drivers of buses/coaches and goods vehicles).

    4. Cam MacRae

      Round these parts it will cost you cost you $433 and 4 demerit points (1/3) to use your phone while driving. And that’s before you run into anyone.

  31. Pete Griffiths

    Very true.

  32. kevando

    My friends and I created a very simple rule that works great. If you’re on your phone in a group of people, you have to tell everyone what you’re doing on your phone.This prevents people from doing anti-social stuff like browsing instagram; makes it fine to text someone back real quick; and lets be honest – the internet is awesome – so it’s often fun to share content on your phone with people that you’re physically with..

  33. bob

    to me, mr wilson, you have put your (texting) finger on a massive societal problem. we are making it so easy for people, especially young people, to learn NOT to talk face-to-face, in person, on the phone…and i want to get sick when i see kids texting to one another across the table. As a lifetime “hustler” with a sales/marketing orientation, I perhaps like to talk more than most, but to me this has vast potential to wreck modern society as we know tricks for this problem…when in restaurants with friends, i leave the damn phone in the car. in the evening, i plug it in at the far end of the house, out of earshot, by 8pm. anybody who needs me after that has my home number and can (gasp) use the phone and have a conversation. Yes i recognize this isn’t perfectly aligned with your brilliant and rather successful investment theses, but if there’s no world out there to buy all the geegaws and gadgets, the ROI on those next interactive tools can’t possibly be as good.

  34. Mike Chan

    I’ve been thinking about developing an app that reminds you to stay off your phone when you shouldn’t be on it. It could connect with your calendar to see when you have meetings and appointments and give you a nudge if you happen to pull out your phone during these events. I know there are apps like Moment that track how often you take out your phone, but they don’t seem to be too useful in changing behavior.

  35. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    WOW rarely if ever have I seen such a universally visceral response to a problem raised at avc . It clearly wants fixing. Possibly a feature not a business – but it seems there is a market and they want it. Interesting At a meta level as I type in my response on the subject and on the subject 😉

    1. Steven Lowell

      There is a market for everything that provides a distraction from reality. It does not mean it should be provided, or that if provided, it is healthy.You can fix technology. You cannot fix people.

      1. James Ferguson @kWIQly


  36. Perry Ismangil

    “And as the conversation goes on, they can’t put the phone down even if there are people in the room they can easily converse with”I don’t see it that way. They dip in and out of both space, virtual and physical.They will share across both. My kids still plans cafe trips, jam sessions, sleep overs.

  37. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    Did you ever feel disrespectful having overheard something that you were not meant to be privy to. It seems to me that the phone user literally at the cost of discretion forgets the audience of his insolence

  38. Dorian Benkoil

    You’ve, perhaps, been paying attention to Manoush Zomorodi’s New Tech City/WNYC “Bored and Brilliant” project in which people control their phone use? You’re far from alone.

  39. LE

    In our family we don’t have any hard and fast rules about cell phones, restaurants, family dinners and all of that.I have daughters that are in their early 20’s and step kids that are 12 and 10. Not unusual at all if we are out to dinner for any one of us to be looking at something on the cell phone (from time to time) if there is a lull in something (waiting for food or what not) and so on. And my daughters don’t live with us so it’s not like we see them all the time. If they get a text from their friends (constantly) no problem and not earth shattering to me. No need for rigidity doesn’t bother me. I know their friends are important.My point is there are no rules and no freaking out. If you want to take a break and look at your cell phone, fine. If the young kids don’t appear to be eating we might say “put your phone away and eat your dinner”. But the phone is actually a benefit in a way with the kids because it keeps them occupied. Then we can enjoy our dinner and not have to keep them entertained. And no we are not failures because we don’t have conversations with them we do. It’s just not something that we need to get all anxious over. No pressure. No need to talk 100% of the time, right?In other words there is a balance. We don’t need a “rule” which says “we are out on date night don’t look at the phone”. Because sometimes looking at the phone and seeing something gives you a topic to talk about. Nothing wrong with that.Generally if you have hard and fast rules it only makes something seem more desirable in many cases.One of the first stories my wife told me about her ex was when she was on her honeymoon with him. She said he got all pissed off because she wanted to just read a book on the balcony of the hotel and he wanted her attention 100% of the time. I thought “this is great we are compatible”. On some of those first few dates we actually would take a newspaper (NYT) out with us and sit there and read at breakfast. And it became a conversation piece that actually bonded us over time. Both of us liked that and still do it to this day. The phone reading is really just a more convenient version of the same thing.

    1. Nic

      Yes, why should there be less judgement for sitting together reading a newspaper than reading something on your phone? Not everything done on a phone is asinine (though I suppose a lot of it is).

      1. LE

        I think this is a classic case of people being judgmental when they see someone else doing something that they personally would like to do but can’t for some reason. Because they just buy into the “something is wrong with doing that” (because others think that way) and the entire lemming follow all popular thought.As far as “asinine” who is to judge what someone else finds entertaining or amusing? What is listening to opera any better than listening to rap? (I don’t like either..)People can easily accept things that appear to be widespread and normal but not things that aren’t.Taking the “newspaper” one step further imagine the difference in reaction to reading the Wall Street Journal vs. the National Inquirer. When a large part of both experiences is really infotainment as opposed to learning or getting actionable information. Or a sex novel vs. a serious book on Physics or Civil Rights.

  40. Joseph Burros

    This reminds me of a time when reading at the table during a family meal was considered rude. Times have changed.I myself find it quite rude when someone is checking their phone during a conversation with me. They just are not fully present. I wonder if this, “not being present mentality”, changes the way people behave with others in general? I also find it rude when people will take a call for a number of minutes, interrupting a conversation with me. Almost all of these calls can be dealt with quickly, but for some reason, a lot of people feel like I want to hear them chat with their friends, while I wait until they are finished.Is this the fault of the technology, or are people just ruder than they used to be?

    1. LE

      I also find it rude when people will take a call for a number of minutes, interrupting a conversation with me.What ever amount of time it is it will always seem much longer when you are only hearing one side of the conversation.This is like a slow clerk at the bank or checkout line. Someone moving slowly even for 1 minute seems like 10 minutes and super annoying.

  41. reece

    to be present and to focus (as a founder) i… 1. turn of all notifications except texts2. make it a point to ignore my phone during any situation where it’s scheduled face to face time… ie. coffees, meetings, dinners etc. 3. this is all helped by having friends outside of tech/startups/cities – who are ‘normals’ who don’t give a fuck about the latest app, or feature, or whatever… they live in the present moment, so when we hang out – none of us are on our phones

    1. reece

      also… every time i find myself on my phone next to my girl, a friend, someone i should be talking to in person… i just think “is checking this message more important than the fun i could be having with this person right now?”answer: most often not

  42. Andrew Kennedy

    my mobile phone addiction has been consistently waning over the course of the last couple years. quality content and interactions are valuable and will always be in demand. junk food type stuff keeps me hungry and it’s something that you just need to realize/be self aware about. speaking to your points (all great btw) phones are a safe way to hide from problems, awkwardness and life in general. human interaction is truly very complicated and phones are an easy eject button as you point out.

  43. Salt Shaker

    Experiencing/observing poor social phone etiquette in a restaurant or on foot is a non-issue relative to the dangerous conditions created by cell phone use and texting while driving. The former is a mere annoyance, while the latter is potentially deadly. The laws vary from state to state, but they don’t seem to be adequately enforced. If when crossing a street on foot in New York and I observe someone stopped at a light talking on a non-hands free phone I verbally and loudly “out” them. Some ignore me, some respond appropriately, while I’ve also encountered the occasional hostile response. It doesn’t stop me, though. Shame can be a powerful weapon.

  44. awaldstein

    The upside of always connected far outweighs the distracting addictions that come with it.It you are socially inept, you most likely were before.Professionally, its not a matter of respect its just stupidity to not focus on those you are interacting with.The biggest issue is not rudeness (easy to address), dangerous stuff like texting while driving but the core changes that impact how are brains are wired to concentrate.

  45. Teren Botham

    And the urge is unlimited.. Here is one more if you like

    1. pointsnfigures

      So true. One of the cool things about my trip to Istanbul and Africa was I had no cell service and only used my phone as a camera. When we could get wifi, we used them to do email etc.

  46. guest

    Fred, this video pretty much summarizes your article…

  47. Marcus Detry

    I used Cover briefly so I would not get notifications while sleeping, but wondered if this could be a calendar app feature. Why not develop a meeting category that silences all non-emergency calls during that time period, and limits functionality during that period? Or develop an app that creates a report of activity on your phone (ie I spent 43 minutes on Twitter today), and allows you to set limits for usage of apps (ie, I am allowed 15 minutes on Twitter each day). I could also see beacons acting as a “guard” when you enter a location (for instance, a classroom), and an app would silence your phone. Maybe it’s time for me to take a few Android/iOS dev courses.

  48. laurie kalmanson

    for when we don’t want to be where we are

  49. pointsnfigures

    When I was reading this, I felt a pang in my stomach. I am addicted certainly and struggle to break it. Now in meetings, I turn my phone to silent and keep it in my pocket instead of on the table. Scientists have found you get a dopamine rush in your brain when you pull your phone out and use it.

    1. LE

      I know that people love that picture as if he missed something really important but to me I’d rather miss that “dolphin” and get the dopamine rush of knowing that I got a reply on some sales email that I sent. That feels much better to me than seeing a whale or whatever that is. To me: “so what”. To each his own.I think the assumption in this entire conversation is that all addiction of wanting to see a text is the same and we should all just calm down because “it doesn’t matter”. Unfortunately it’s not all the same. You could be waiting for a test result, a reply from a girlfriend that you had a fight with, the broker selling your overpriced apartment, and so on. It’s not all fluff and trivial.

      1. pointsnfigures

        If they are emailing you, it can wait. If it’s a call, answer it if you recognize the number.

  50. Twain Twain

    In the UK, there was Dom Joly and Trigger Happy to parody our lives as mobile phone appendages:*

  51. Verlton Gordon

    You have never spoke truer words! This is a Great post

  52. Jim Peterson

    7:15 am in a Seattle area hotel lobby. As Mr Evans says, mobile is eating the world….

  53. Tracey Jackson…A great book by William Powers that helps explain and get you off the dopamine that cell phones trigger in your brain.

  54. Vasudev Ram

    The very fact that these things even need to be discussed says something about people’s attitudes. Same (or worse) in India.

  55. John Frankel

    It is not just the phone. It is good to delete apps that you spend all your time in for a few weeks and see if you really need them after all.This is only going to get worse as we move phones from our pockets to our wrists and to implants.

  56. Amy Lan

    Check out this series of podcasts by New Tech City called “Bored and Brilliant.” Each day for a week, listeners are presented with challenges…like don’t take a photo today, delete an app, etc. I hesitantly deleted Instagram one week ago. And I don’t even miss it.

  57. ShanaC

    This is why I like national parks as vacations. They don’t have phone service

  58. Kirsten Lambertsen

    I can’t help but reminded, though, of when the Walkman was heralded as the end of civilized society 😉 These things often self-correct over time.

  59. Matt Zagaja

    I go to trivia night at a local bar/pub with some lawyer friends of mine on Wednesday nights. Cell phones are banned, no cheating, it’s awesome :). I can understand using the phone as a tool or complement to a conversation whether it is to look up something you are unsure about or to show an interesting video or picture. I do not really understand using the phone to escape, if I want to eat and be at a screen it’s much cheaper to do that at home.My phone is my GPS/navigation while I drive. It’d be great if it could disable notifications for all apps while in that mode. I have already turned off or scaled back notifications for most apps. Way too noisy.

  60. Nic

    Often I’ll be out to dinner with my husband, not on a date but just because we didn’t feel like cooking that night, and we’ll both be working through dinner, sending emails on our phones and so on.During those meals I wonder if people are looking at us and judging us for choosing our phones over conversation with each other. Apparently the answer is yes. It’s not necessarily wrong when people are together physically but consumed with their phones. It’s nicer to be together than apart, even when we can’t devote all of our attention to each other.

    1. LE

      During those meals I wonder if people are looking at us and judging us for choosing our phones over conversation with each other. Apparently the answer is yes.I often like to say (here on AVC) that it’s not what people actually think but what you think that they think. What you just said is a perfect example of that.That is something that you can easily get over. I am, for example, an inveterate picture taker. I take pictures of everything and anything in every situation including pictures of myself way before selfies became popular. After a bit of discomfort years ago I got over the idea that people had a problem with me taking pictures and now I don’t even give it a thought. Part of that is “practice” with not giving a shit and part is simply not looking for visual cues that allow people to make you feel uncomfortable.A similar situation is public speaking. In the beginning you are quite self conscious and it can bother you to be in front of a group. But after doing it a bit you can develop a “don’t give a shit attitude” and just talk. Maybe practice for that is simply to get up in the middle of the city and start to give a speech where it doesn’t matter at all. (Just thought of that, never tried it although at a trade show years ago I found it’s easier to just start to talk at a booth about a product even if nobody is in front of you and then people will gather.)

    2. Scott

      Here here. I do the same with my wife.If people look down upon us, I say screw ’em.We converse and connect with one another all the time. We’d drive each other crazy if we connected with each other at all times.

  61. Rick

    HR systems track that now. They say if you can get addicted to cell phone usage you’re more likely to become addicted to drugs and alcohol. That means you’re a risk when making hiring decisions.

  62. Trevor McLeod

    I agree, the main problem is that the phone pulls us away from the here-and-now. I think another problem is what we’re doing on the phone when we let it distract us. Maybe it’s a chance to learn or explore something other than social feeds?I like to read books or catch up on longform content when I’m waiting or need a phone fix. It’s helped me increase the # of books I get through drastically. Anyone else like using their phone to knock out some reading?

  63. jseliger

    I’ve seen this too, and I notice in particular that phones and Facebook seem to be bad for relationships (with “Facebook” now standing in for any number of other web communication platforms). Perhaps phones just accelerate the weaknesses of already weak relationships, but I’m not so sure: they seem to sap people of the ability to be present with their significant other, while simultaneously offering a slippery slope towards new relationships.

  64. JordanCooper_NYC

    that little red light that flashed on the blackberry was irresistible

  65. Paul Sanwald

    I struggle with this a lot. I have found Brad Feld’s “digital sabbath” to help.There are different kinds of problems with this, though. I have no problem ignoring texts or incoming calls on my phone, and I turn off all other notifications. My problem is that I check my email and twitter as a nervous habit.Whereas I noticed my parents, in their 70s, will drop everything and scramble for the phone if it rings or they get a text. even if they’re driving, which scares the shit out of me (usually they are together fortunately).

  66. Nnamdi

    I’m a big fan of wearables from weaning us of the phone reliance. I use my Moto360 to check texts/emails and then swipe when done. Keeps me off instagram/twitter/facebook and all other potential time drains that exist on your phone.

  67. Scott

    As an introvert, I have to ask: What’s the problem with looking at your phone, exactly?Extended socializing and conversation frankly is taxing to me. Feeding my brain via my smartphone is energizing.If I happen to ruffle some feathers by being “rude” around the people I happen to be with at the time, I consider this a small price to pay.

    1. rick gregory

      Then don’t go out in a social situation when you’re not in the mood to converse.

  68. Cortney Harding

    I have a slightly different take on this.First, texting and driving is wrong, dangerous, and should be punished severely. Second, walking and staring at your phone is dangerous and annoying.But…who am I to police someone’s behavior if it doesn’t affect me? Why does it matter if the people at the next table are staring at their phones? If someone would prefer skimming Twitter over talking to me, well, maybe I’m just boring. Not everyone gets pleasure out of experiencing things the same way. Some people like to look at scenery, others like to look at screens, and as long as it doesn’t have a direct impact on you, then what’s the big deal?

  69. Informerly

    Perhaps our addiction to mobile phones and external social interactions have unmasked the dark truth: We’ve never really liked the people around us 🙂

  70. Simone

    Funny how in the 90’s when we had to use landlines, I never felt something very important was missing. Mobile is magic but we can already see the long term use impact on interactions and to get back that lost connection I would give up mobile (not internet) any day

  71. LaMarEstaba

    I was just thinking about this yesterday after reading an article on how teens are zombies because of their cell phones.…I’m not immune to this, but I’m better off than a lot of the people around me. I “lose” my phone around the house constantly – because I’ll go a day or more without looking at it and forget where it is. Phones are banned from meals entirely in my family, and I think that it’s a healthy rule.

  72. Drew Meyers

    I agree we’re suffering from mobile phone addiction, in a massive massive way. I think community is at the center of the vast majority of good. Every moment that is spent staring at a screen instead of interacting with real people, decreases the amount of community that exists in this world. And it’s our goal to slow that trend via strengthening communities worldwide (which ONLY comes from in person conversations & experiences), and help people realize that’s what life is all about.

  73. hypermark

    I wonder what the addiction will grow into when the user experience becomes fully immersive, ala Oculus.

  74. OurielOhayon

    Spot on. I am not sure there will ever be a solution. I think it has to do with education more than anything. I believe this is going to be the biggest challenge of the new generation: ie learning to be focused and enjoy time in a smartphone-free world. And wait for watches to arrive….we’re cooked (no play on words)

  75. Simone Brunozzi

    Phone companies know when you are in a car (triangulation with cell towers). They could simply avoid sending you SMS/text messages until you get to a stop. They don’t, because it hurts their business. That’s where regulation/government is supposed to step in. But they don’t.

    1. sunil*j

      They don’t know whether you are a driver or the passenger though. I think this will be addressed when cars get smarter about someone’s wearables so they can restrict just the driver.

      1. Simone Brunozzi

        They know if you move the mobile phone often (they might need an app installed, but in some cases they don’t). Too often = you’re a passenger. Not too often = you’re a distracted driver.

        1. sunil*j

          I see where you are going, and could work for many cases if you could get a good handle on “too often”. Wouldn’t fit my typical usage though, I usually have my phone in my pocket as a passenger and only pull it out when I receive a text/call.

  76. Alex Galin

    Fred, I don’t know if you are aware of this – but the Samsung S-Drive Initiative uses an app to decrease texting/speeding of teens by a super rewards and social network program.…Texting and driving or eating or walking – yes, that’s problematic. We do need to look up. But I do wonder if the type of interactions we have with our phones will change to facilitate rather than limit.Just a thought.

  77. Alexis Diaz

    I dont have a phone or a car, I promise NEVER to text and drive when I do finally have a car and a phone — but I have a dream to go to University Summer Program “specifically Stanford” if they will accept me; I am a straight A student happy to scan my transcript and send to the doubter 🙂 – Help fund my dream please go to

  78. Lisa Morell

    From now on, I am goi g to put my iPhone in the backseat every time I drive to work myself

  79. panterosa,

    I’m late to the party too Charlie.At recent toy and game conferences on digital play, and on the eve of Digital Kids Conference, there are real questions as to how children perceive their IRL vs screen experiences. The current under 18 crowd grew up with adults who feel there IS a big split between texting while out to dinner etc. These kids don’t see the split so much having watched adults use screens. A kid’s now is simultaneously an IRL AND a digitally connected one, whether the screen is a game or a conversation.That’s what we’re up against in play, and that’s what we’re up against in communications – we have a generation who doesn’t see the difference unless adults who feel the difference point it out – because we modeled that for them. The genie is out of the bottle.

  80. William Mougayar

    this pic says it all. #truth

  81. johnbattelle

    I simply turn off notifications. Always. Forever. No reminders = far fewer reasons to check the phone. Works like a charm (but I do miss phone calls!).

  82. Semil Shah

    The last paragraph is a big reason why I got behind this project:

  83. Ari Lewis

    You can also argue, that social norms are changing. Cell phone usage during dinner is now normal. Is it correct? Probably not, but people are doing it.

  84. george

    Building new behaviors through mobile tasking; hmmm, wonder if anyone is analyzing the behavior science part of all this…

  85. Mike Langford

    I wonder how you reconcile this worry about mobile phone addiction with your investment portfolio? Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare, Boxee, GetGlue, SoundCloud, etc… Your capital has created and fed this epidemic of mobile addition and you have profited from it handsomely.My question isn’t meant to be snarky or an attempt to call out hypocrisy. I am truly curious, as an investor, how do you compartmentalize your concerns with the investment choices you are making? We’ve all see how much good Twitter has done for the world, for example, but it’s also like crack for many people. Does your concern for the crack-like addiction shape your views on future investments?

    1. fredwilson

      life is a balance

      1. William Mougayar

        oh i thought life was a highway :)…

  86. Steve.

    An anti-social behavior, and dangerous addiction for sure. Here’s what our friend’s at Headspace are doing about it

  87. Sarah Verman

    I spend at least 8 hours a day on my phone. I am addicted. I do everything on my phone.

  88. James

    I had an iPhone + Google Voice + Flip Phone combination for a while and it was a reasonable v1 solution, but the camera sucked and most texts I receive are iMessages.Now I have a newer iPhone with all my distracting items on it and an older iPhone with nothing but the phone, Google Voice, iMessage, Google Maps, Yelp and the camera. iMessage sync and text forwarding, and Google Voice integrate the two seamlessly.It’s the best I’ve come up with so far.

  89. Alex

    If you have Android phone, check AppTime app. Won’t fight addiction by itself, but will help track time you spend looking at the screen.

  90. Boaz Zilberman

    What are the technical solutions offered today?Anyone –

  91. Robert Heiblim

    Amen Fred, thank you. Horrible to see at times, and certainly an etiquette and social challenge of our times

  92. Simon Févry

    My friend and I created our own solution, we called it « uman »It’s a mobile app that will allow us to challenge our friends in order to get back to a disconnected life. In a nutshell, we choose for how long we want to disconnect, who with… and the first who grabs his device looses the game. We can use it with friends, but also at work or during a family dinner, in the car… in other words we tried to turn this into a social game!We officially launch our Landing Page next week : and all input is more than welcome!

  93. Rob Abis

    What’s the big deal. It’s just a newer faux pas. If someone is being rude then them they are, cell phone or no cell phone, and repeat. Who cares if a couple that you see is knowingly being rude too each other by being on their phones all night, they probably don’t like each other too much regardless (cell phone or no cell phone).