Do you suffer from Smartphone Derangement Disorder?

Last night Jimmy Kimmel told a story in his monologue about being bothered by a text message his mom sent to him at 4:57 in the morning. I say he told a story and not told a funny story because Kimmel’s “problem” irritated me too much to laugh.

The crux of the problem was this: Kimmel’s mom is so silly that she actually wakes him up at 5am with a bunch of meaningless texts! Ha ha! Why was his mom up at 5 am in the first place?!? Ha ha!

This whole thing is Kimmel’s fault. Why the hell does he have his cell phone on at 5 in the morning?!? He says it was on silent mode but it was charging on his nightstand so he heard when the texts/notifications come in. This is an odd explanation, because you can shut off your phone completely when you charge it so you don’t hear the noises or move the charger to a different room, right? (Also, doesn’t “silent mode” mean you can’t hear things??)

This is Smartphone Derangement Disorder (SDD). Our lives are so completely taken over by phones we’ve lost all common sense. (I’ve written about this before.)

This is also a case of smartphones vs. landlines. There was a time (warning: “old fogey” viewpoint ahead) when people talked on the phone and then they hung it up. And it wasn’t “off,” you could still call the person, but you’re probably not going to call the person at 5 am unless it was an emergency. But I guess everyone feels like they can text at 5 am. And you know what? Maybe you can. Maybe it’s like e-mail. The sender doesn’t necessarily think that the receiver is going to get the text right away and answer right away, they’ll get it when they turn their phone back on and answer when they can. Though I would assume that the senders and receivers of texts are doing it for speed and efficiency and actually do expect a quick response (in Kimmel’s case, maybe his mom doesn’t quite get this). This wouldn’t happen if everyone used e-mail, especially for non-emergency messages. And with e-mail you don’t get charged more or go over your limit.

We used to have some separation between ourselves and our phones, and I can’t shake the feeling that we’ve lost something – a pause, some healthy disconnection – because we can communicate all the time now. Our phones, our e-mails, even our televisions are with us all the time. I can’t imagine leaving my cell phone on 24/7. Maybe if I was on the road or in a hotel or at someone else’s home – maybe – but when I’m at home? That’s what my landline is for. I know, I know, everyone is getting rid of their landlines and just using their cells now. It’s so convenient! (Tell that to my friend who had to do an interview with NPR and they insisted he use a landline because it’s clearer – he actually had to go on Facebook to ask people if they had a landline he could use.) Yeah. Convenient. And here we are with all these problems.

Oddly enough, just a couple of weeks ago Kimmel had this sketch on his show. He should take his own advice.

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