The great smartphone panic of 2018

“Smartphone separation anxiety is set to become an increasingly widespread problem. Smartphones are so central to our lives that being separated from them for any length of time can put people into a high state of anxiety – and the problem, it seems, is only going to get worse. Many people will be familiar with the uneasy feeling of being without a mobile phone for just a short period of time, and scientists now believe they understand why this happens.”

What’s the appropriate social media response to the burgeoning panic about smartphones and social media? Maybe it’s #FirstWorldProblems or perhaps #ThisIsWhyWeCantHaveNiceThings? I will admit a soft spot for a good GIF based on the classic Battlestar Galactica catchphrase, “All of this has happened before. All of this will happen again.” Seems appropriate given how that TV show was about a technology backlash that keeps happening over and over again.

And so it is with concerns about the social consequences of media tech. The 17th-century French scholar Adrien Baillet fretted that “the multitude of books which grows every day in prodigious fashion” would destroy civilization just like the “fall of the Roman Empire.”…


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