Monique Keiran: Smartphones’ allure is a lure



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I’m talking to you.


Put that down. What are you watching that’s so absorbing, anyway?

Just reading a survey.

What survey?

By B.C. Hydro. About how obsessed people are with their electronic devices.

How appropriate. So, what does it say?

It says one in four B.C. residents prefer their smartphones to their spouses —

Right here, right now.

— As in, one in four would willingly give up their spouse for a day if it meant keeping their smartphone for 24 hours. But — tee hee — it’s one in three in my age group.

Well, take that smirk off your face. We tried that for several months when I was working in Alberta. As I recall, it didn’t go so well on your end.

No, you’re right. I ended up taking the phone to bed with me instead. The survey covers that, too. One in five admit to sleeping with our phones … seven out of every 10 if you’re under age 24. Oh, don’t be so high and mighty — you keep your phone on your bedside table at night.

I use it as an alarm clock.

You have an alarm clock. One that cost $15 12 years ago. It still works, doesn’t it?

It does, but I can’t scan and read the news on it when I first wake up, like I do with my phone. I actually might stop doing that — catastrophe, disaster and Donald Trump’s latest tweets don’t stay down so well before the day’s first hit of coffee.

So, you’re not among the two-thirds of British Columbians who would rather go without their morning coffee for two days than their smartphone or tablet for the same period.


What about giving up a day’s salary to keep your phone for a day?

Are you crazy! Who would do that?

It says nearly one-fifth of British Columbians age 25 to 34 would rather give up a day’s salary than their device for the same period.

There are things I would gladly give up a day’s pay for — the right charity, more time off, definitely more time off. But not my phone. Those millennials! I wonder if they’re the same ones whose parents are paying for those cellphones.

A day’s wage for millennials doesn’t go nearly as far as it did when we were that age.

Speak for yourself. I launched at a time when the unemployment rate for young people was 19 per cent. That was the second highest in the past 50 years, surpassed only by the almost 21 per cent of the early 1980s.

Right, a day’s wage for them likely doesn’t go as far as mine did when I was that age.

Mind you, if I had to choose between a day’s wage and my laptop-plus-internet access, I’d have to choose the laptop. Without it, I couldn’t make a day’s wage, so I’d be out on both counts. But my phone — phht. Entire days go by when I don’t take it from its bedside post.

Yeah, about that ….


It’s a pain.

How is it a pain?

You never answer when I call or text.

That’s because the phone is beside my bed and I’m on my laptop working. If you need to reach me, email.

So, remind me — why do you have a smartphone?

I have a smartphone so that it can wake me up in the morning — instead of the perfectly serviceable alarm clock that is also next to my bed — and so I can read the morning news, which I’m thinking of not doing anymore. And so we can talk regularly when I’m working out of town, which I’m not doing anymore.

I repeat — why do you have a smartphone?

Well, ask yourself that. You insisted I get one.

Oh. Right.

As I recall, getting me one got you a lower rate on your own phone package.

Oh. … So?


What did you want to talk to me about?

Beats me. Let me check my phone.

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