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Taking our devices to bed: workaholic or ‘techaholic’?

Posted by Hannah Wright on 3rd June 2013

We’ve all been guilty of sharing our bed with someone other than our partner at least once in our lives.

However that ‘someone’ is typically a ‘something’ – whether it’s a kindle, iPad, tablet or mobile phone – technology is rapidly becoming the nation’s biggest love affair, so much so that we want to cozy up with them every night.

Research released recently by Future Foundation’s Spring Conference has confirmed our suspicions by revealing over one in ten of us are checking emails whilst in bed. But not just as a one off, every single day!

And that’s not all. Earlier research from Premier Inn also uncovered that some of us are so reluctant to let our phones escape from our clutches that we prefer to store them under our pillows every night, just to ensure we don’t miss a single text or email.

Thinking about those times we’ve sneaked a peak at our emails when the lights are off, it’s easy to pass the buck to our employers by saying we’re a nation of overloaded workaholics, with so much to do that we never have a spare moment to ourselves. The typical old chestnut of achieving a successful ‘work / home life balance’.

Yet it seems the average weekly full-time working hours amongst UK employees has actually dropped from 38.1 hours in 1992 to 37.3 hours in 2012. So what if work isn’t to blame at all and, in fact, it’s just our mental state that’s the cause?

The inability to separate ourselves from technology and being addicted to having a mobile device near or on us all the time is something one psychologist has already coined as ‘iDisorder’.

‘iDisorder’ can put us in a state of anxiety and even cause panic attacks – sometimes with serious consequences. Signs and symptoms such as narcissism, addiction and antisocial personality disorder are all part of our failure to detach ourselves from technology.

But it’s not just the working adults that should be worried. The youngest known patient being treated for an addiction to tech in the UK is a four-year-old girl. Her parents took her to compulsive behaviour therapy after she became increasingly “distressed and inconsolable” when an iPad was taken away from her.

So that brings us to the question: are we hiding under the pretense that we’re a bunch of workaholics, unable to leave our work email alone? Or, in actual fact, are we just breaking out in a sweat at the thought of our devices being more than two feet away?

There’s no right or wrong answer when generalising this problem to the mass public, but next time you take your phone to bed with you, just stop and think – do I really need to do this? Will it make any difference if I reply at 11pm at night or 9am tomorrow?

Personally, I know that in most cases, it really can wait and we just love to steal a glance at our beloved devices. And to make matters worse, by 2020 the average consumer will have access to six connected smart devices, many of which will no doubt make their way into the bedroom.

But hopefully by this point, with our six devices making a halo around our pillow, we may finally come to the conclusion that we’re all just a nation of pure technology addicts.

Photo Courtesy of Johan Larsson.

Hannah Wright

After joining in 2011, Hannah brings a wealth of experience across both consumer and B2B PR.