Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

October 6, 2012

Zap your cell phone addiction

By Rebecca Todd

— Can you hold on a second? I need to send a text.

Okay, I'm ready.

It's been said that we live in an addictive society; everyone is addicted to something. In fact, I recently read an article in Psychology Today on how addicted this society is to being addicted - true story.

In fact, there are very few things out there that are not addictive. Applause, bottled water, Harry Potter, and cinnamon toothpicks all made the long list of possible dangerous addictions.

Society is so addicted to addiction, television shows about addicted people have been created and now people are addicted to watching them. That's a vicious cycle.

The latest, most fashionable addiction to have is "nomophobia" - the fear of being without one's cell phone. "Experts" explain that the anxiety felt by those suffering from nomophobia is on par with wedding day jitters and trips to the dentist. No word on who these experts are, but it sounds like there may be a few people addicted to making up addictions.

Oh, that's good. I need to tweet that. Hold on.

Okay, where was I?

One recent study (conducted by "experts") found that 66 percent of people suffer from nomophobia. This study made national news, of course, since the media is also addicted to addiction, especially if children are involved. And trust me, if there is no evidence that children are involved, they will dig until they find a child that is. Thus photos are cropping up on the Internet of a woman dropping her baby but managing to hold on to her phone. She did not even take the phone away from her ear as she scooped the child off the sidewalk. Yes, this is horrid, but what is also horrid is that the person taking the photo saw what was happening and opted to grab his phone and take a photo rather than step in and try to help save the baby and/or snatch the phone out of the woman's hand and slap her with it.

Hold on a sec while I post that on my Facebook page.

This, by the way, leads me to my solutions for conquering this problem. While the Morningside Recovery Center in California has founded a recovery group for people suffering with nomophobia (of course they did!), and the pharmaceutical companies are no doubt rubbing their greedy little palms together planning to cash in on this new "addiction," I have a better solution.

Long ago and far away, in a place called the 1990s, I wrote a story about rude people with cell phones getting zapped in the head ala a Stephen Kingish-type phenomenon in which the phones turned on the users. I think it's time to take this plan into action. How about if Siri, that much-loved demon of the iPhone, gains the ability to zap stupidity on the spot?

Siri: "I'm sorry, but you have been on your phone long enough." ZAP! goes the electric shock.

Siri: "I'm sorry, but you are in a movie and are annoying everyone around you." ZAP!

Siri: "I'm sorry, but you just tweeted your 226th tweet of the day." ZAP!

Siri: "I'm sorry, but you have just dropped your baby." ZAP! ZAP! ZAAAPPP!

Actually that last one should issue a self-destruct, because if you are that bad off, you don't need a self-help group or medication. You need to be stopped.

I'm done now because I really need to take a call.


- Rebecca Todd is a freelance writer and the author of the book, "What's the Point?" available at booklocker.com. Contact her at btodd@tds.net.