What’s the Real Cost of Your Smartphone?

Christine Ryan Jyoti

real cost of smartphonesI’ll be the first to admit it: I love my smartphone.

For many of us it’s a lifeline—and a major expense. While the average cell phone costs around $20, the average smartphone starts at $200, and that’s before you add memory, a data plan and optional insurance, to say nothing of the $56 in accessories the average user bought last year.

Despite that, a recent TIME survey found that 84% of respondents couldn’t go a day without their phones, 20% check their phones every 10 minutes, and 50% sleep with their phones next to them.

According to Dr. David Greenfield, one of the world’s leading experts on compulsive technology and smartphone use, and the founder of the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction, the adoption of the smartphone has exceeded any previous technological adoption in the history of humankind.

But is the smartphone costing you more than a big chunk of change? We took a closer look at the toll mobile technology is having on many marriages, kids, work productivity and even our safety.

Has Your Smartphone Taken Over?

Over half of moms in the United States say they are “addicted” to their smartphone, according to a 2011 BabyCenter report. The survey found that adoption of smartphones among moms has risen 64% in two years.

Anne, a mom of two boys in Chevy Chase, Maryland, says she is 100% dependent on her smartphone. “It’s my office,” says the real estate agent. “I check it probably every three to five minutes.”

Amy, a mom of two girls, from Hoboken, New Jersey, checks hers about eight times an hour. “I read the news on the USA Today app and the New York Times app and I Facebook, email and text. My girls are young and I never get to watch the news—the apps are how I keep up.”

What’s the Big Deal?

It looks like our “quick” smartphone checks are leading to some pretty unhealthy behavior:

  • Caitlin McLeod

    Shocking, how much time people spend on their cell/smart phones!! Why? Do you really think that something earth-shattering will occur every 5 minutes? Maybe so, and we can wait to read about it once a day, if at all. I always say, how did humans survive before cell phones/internet were invented? Why, they must have written real letters, used the telephone, and visited each other in person! The radiation in cell phones is very dangerous, too. I am probably the only person in the US who refuses to own a cell phone–and I’m healthier, safer, and less distracted. Try it!

  • http://www.facebook.com/cody.b.meyer Cody Meyer

    There’s a fine balance to be had.

    One one end, my smart phone runs my budget, tracks expenses, is my rolodex, my calendar, my recipe book, my camera, my GPS, my calculater, my email, my project management, my CRM, my to do list, and about a hundred other things positive that it simplifies.

    The downside, I think, is when you get sucked into it. My smartphone actually frees me up and unclutters my mind and my desk.

    But, it’s those that are constantly checking Facebook, or Tweeting everything, or viewing a concert through their screen instead of real time.

    There are many a great positives about smart phones, it’s just a double edged sword. They can be extremely powerful in the right hands, or in the wrong hands make someone glued to their screen.

  • GrafHerman

    Parents , you set a poor example for your kids when you drive , talk or worse yet TEXT while driving . Only a FOOL would do that . Some day if your kids follow your example and text and drive and they DIE in an accident , remember YOU taught them and you were the cause of their death .