When the idea of the mobile phone was made a reality back in the early 1980s, it was done so with the aim of enabling people to make and receive calls from wherever they were. Nowadays, though, phone calls are often one of the lesser used functions of a mobile phone. Since the smartphone has hit the shelves, the mobile device has taken a new life from phone to computer, camera to games console, and as new apps keep hitting the market, it is bound to get even more functions. With almost three billion people across the globe currently in possession of a smartphone, it’s probably fair to say as a civilisation that we are now pretty reliant on our phones for a host of reasons.
One aspect of life a mobile phone can help us with is when we’re just waiting around. Whether it’s while you’re waiting for a bus, sat on a toilet or in the process of being stood up on a first date, our smartphones can save us from boredom as well as potentially awkward situations.
As you’re waiting for a train or a date, a smartphone can be a game-changer. While in years gone by you would have been forced to read the train timetable or try to act as though the wine menu was intensely interesting, you can now simply get out your phone and check out your social media or catch up on last night’s episode of Celebrity Masterchef. With so many awesome apps constantly being released, as long as you have your phone with you, you no longer have to suffer from the boredom virus.
Sitting on the toilet and reading the newspaper might be how your parents did things but the world has changed over the past 20 years. A recent survey by Voucherbox found that over three quarters of respondents took their phones with them to the toilet. You might expect many to be using this time as a chance to catch up on social media or play games. The truth is that many actually use their toilet break as an opportunity to work, with over half sending an email while one in 10 people who responded to the survey admitted to taking part in conference calls while taking care of their own personal “business”. It’s not all work, though, with 51% revealing they make online purchases while in the bathroom – adding a whole new meaning to the expression “spending a penny”.
Let’s be honest, we’ve all ended up spending two hours in a cinema on a first date wanting to walk out because the film was just terrible but having to stay because leaving someone in the cinema on their own is up there with checking out the waitress/waiter in terms of bad first-date moves.
Rather than having to watch the latest Adam Sandler offering on the big screen, you can instead watch the second half of the football or the latest episode of Game of Thrones. And if the date is going as badly as the film, your smartphone can save the day again as you order an Uber and get yourself out of Dodge.
So, while we might have begun to take our smartphones for granted, take a moment to reflect on just how important to everyday life our phones are. And try not to drop it down the toilet when you’re next playing Candy Crush and avoiding work.