After the course of 9 weeks in the BCM240 lectures and tutorials I have come to a conclusion on the premise of my research project. Drawing from the content found in weeks 6 ‘personal devices and public spaces’ and weeks 8 ‘attention, presence and place’ lectures as well as pulling from my own experiences and emotions from anxiety felt with our devices and our attention span, I wish to shed some light on how we as a society in a newly technological age interact and feel about our devices.
Now let’s take a set back and imagine a time where everybody actually talked to each other, there were no technological distractions, no dinging of Facebook messages or whistles of tweets coming your way. What I like to call a simpler time!
Hard to imagine right?
Try imaging this…“A group of people wait by a monument, unaware of each other’s existence. A woman strides open-mouthed down a busy street, holding one hand across her heart. Two young men – brothers? – stand behind a white fence, both their heads bowed at the same angle.” – (Tom Chatfield, 2015)
Have you ever been in a similar situation (not as dramatic as this one), where something is happening but you’re too amerced in your phone to notice? Or would you in fact notice the situation and capture it on your phone to share with your online world?
Almost every city in the world has its streets packed with people doing the same thing, all taking the same positions bowed down to an electronic device. This has cause two problems in our society today, one our attention spans for everyday tasks is met by us taking 2 hours out to look at our phones and mindlessly scroll through our social media apps.
How many of you have sat in a lecture hall or in a tutorial and witnessed most of the class with their laptops open, but are tapping away on their phones or mindlessly scrolling through Facebook? I can’t say that I am no exception to this; in fact I have just spent an hour scrolling through Facebook while trying to complete this sentence.
If you don’t think this is bad, a new study conducted by Microsoft Corp found that the “average attention span for the notoriously ill-focused goldfish is nine seconds, but people now generally lose concentration after eight seconds, highlighting the affects of an increasingly digitalized lifestyle on the brain” (McSpadden, 2015).
The study also confirmed that 77% of 18-24 responded ‘yes’ when asked, “when nothing is occupying my attention the first thing I do is reach for my phone”. These findings coincide with a British study conducted in 2014, which found that the average person shifts their attention span between their Smartphone, tablet and laptop up 21 times in an hour. This need for constant engagement with digital devices leads me on to the second problem we have society, that being many people over the age of 18 being addicted to their phones.
From studies conduct on this topic here are some facts on Smartphone addiction (Phone Addiction, 2015):
44% of people have stated that they become very anxious when they lose or misplace their phones, also stating that they would not be able to go one day without their phones.
91% of generation Y revealed that they take their phones with them everywhere, even to the bathroom. Also highlighting that 80% of 18-24 year olds sleep with their phones right next to them.
The need to have your phone with you all the time, has caused 80% of people to have phantom vibrations, through the belief their phone is ringing but in reality is isn’t.
This has lead the average person to check their phone 110 times a day while more addicted people check their phones up to 900 times a day.
This has become such a pressing issue that scientists have named the fear of being without a mobile phone as nomophobia.
In order to conduct my research and find analysis the results of peoples emotions and their interactions with their devices, I wish to product a survey whereby, I shall ask anonymously what individuals habits are when it comes to their phones, social media and their anxieties to their phone. I will slipt the survey into three parts, asking questions about attentions spans, their feeling towards their devices and how they would feel if they were not to have their devices on hand.
Meanwhile, I shall be conducting my own social experiment, where I shall be videoing the response of how many times an individual picks up or get distracted by their devices while in everyday situations as well as taking their devices away from them for an hour or two and recording their responses on an emotional level once being away from their devices for such a long period of time.
With each of these research methods I will be collecting both quantitative and qualitative, the reason for this is to ensure I get the most out of my responses in terms of statistical facts as well as in depth opinions that spark discussion and further research. “Both qualitative and quantitative methods of research play important roles in product development” (Madrigal and McClain, 2012). Quantitative research looks at numbers and gathering statistical information, which will help strengthen my research in terms of the percentage of participants who feel anxiety without their devices or do not feel anxiety without their devices. Qualitative research will give me a greater understanding to the emotions created with the connection of our devices and how often our attention is or is not lost due to distraction of our devices or lack of attention.