An article in The Oregonian, published Wednesday, July 6, 2011, addresses a growing concern that people are becoming addicted to their smartphones. The article states, “For approximately 72.5 million Americans who own smartphones, according to the technology industry analyst firm comScore Inc., our dependence on smartphones is not just a distraction but an addiction.” The article quotes psychologist and author of “Virtual Addiction: Help for Netheads, Cyberfreaks and Those Who Love Them” David Greenfield. Greenfield credits a variable-ratio reinforcement schedule for the addiction to phones and the Internet. “It’s like a slot machine…When you do see something new, it stimulates pleasure centers in the brain.”
The article does mention the dangers of this addiction, with one of the most obvious ones being using a phone while driving. An article on Oregonlive.com mentions the bill that the Oregon Senate passed banning drivers from using hand-held phones. The article, published Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009. The article goes into detail as to how the House Bill 2377 went into law, effective January 1st, 2010.
Even though drivers can be ticketed if caught, an story published on KEZI website on May 4th, 2011, states that “Oregon State Police say there are still drivers using their cell-phones just as often as before the law went into affect.” The article mentions many excuses drivers use when pulled over for using their cell phones, needing to use it for work purposes is the most popular. (Addiction was not one of the excuses mentioned in the article.) The article also mentions that having to use the cell-phone for work purposes is one of the potential loopholes of the law, causing the Law to head to the Senate to become clearer.
It’s not just talking on cell-phones while driving that has been a news topic, it is also texting while driving. The first article mentioned (from The Oregonian) states that “A University of North Texas Health Science Center report says texting while driving claimed more than 16,000 lives from 2001 to 2007.”
Texting while driving has been an issue here in Lane County. In fact, KEZI news published a story February 2nd, 2011 reported of a teen that admitted to texting and driving when he killed a pedestrian. The hit-and-run happened January 26th, after the law was in affect.