As G. K. Chesterton wisely noted, the question about technology is not whether we should have it, but how to keep it from having us. That is, how do we ensure that the machines we make serve us and the true human good, rather than make us their servants, forming us in their mechanical image?
A recent study on nomophobia reveals the deep difficulty we're having with smartphones, which so define our identity and our precious time, that we suffer separation anxiety if we are removed from them for even a few moments. In the words of the study,
"separation from smartphones is found to cause increases in heart rate, anxiety, blood pressure, and unpleasant feelings—the symptoms of nomophobia (i.e., the feelings of discomfort or anxiety caused by the nonavailability of amobile device enabling habitual virtual communication). Although nomophobia is not formally included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as a psychological disorder, research suggests that nomophobia may serve as an indicator of a social disorder or phobia for individuals with a strong dependency on communication through virtual environments."
If you doubt the effects of "nomophobia," and you own a smartphone, just do a simple experiment: don't look at it for six hours (not even a peek--turn it off, and put it away). Record the effects--honestly. Then ask yourself: do I own a smartphone, or does it own me?
As I make clear in my In Defense of Nature, internet and smartphone addiction is a real problem, one that detaches us from the good of our own nature, and defines us in terms of a mechanical device, rather than a rational animal, a creature wonderfully made in the image of God. The literature on such addiction is growing by the minute, as you'll see in the footnotes.