25 November 2012
Addicted to Smartphones?
Have you ever experienced a sudden burst of laughter from someone beside you, and when you turn your head, that person is just watching his or her cell phone without realizing that he or she is in public and disturbs others? Have you ever paid attention to what people around you are doing when waiting for a bus, sitting in the subway, or even before a meal comes to the table? How many of them are holding a smartphone with eyes focused on the screen and fingertips busy dancing back and forth on the touch panel, and never get bored? With the development of 3G and wireless technology, cell phones are no longer restricted to simple communications such as calling or texting. After the appearance of smartphones, things like surfing the Internet, socializing, taking photos or even FaceTime can be done instantly in your hand. Smartphones are becoming parts of many people's lives. These days, a new phenomenon named "smartphone addiction" has emerged. In fact, recently in China, the spread of smartphones has attracted more and more young people into the world of virtual Internet at the expense of their interaction with real world relationships; it has also aroused heated discussions on whether or not we should take some actions on limiting this tendency. As a matter of fact, even though smartphones have created a more convenient life and have also changed our way of communication in a digital era, the improper use of smartphones is problematic in our daily lives, and the public should be aware of this. It is necessary for the Chinese to pay serious attention to the excessive dependence on smartphones, and try to lessen the negative influence of smartphones in our daily interpersonal relationships.
Before talking about the impacts, we have to take a look at the smartphone market in China. According to the new figures from International Data Corporation, IDC's worldwide quarterly mobile phone tracker, China’s share of the global smartphone market will rise to 20.7%, up from 18.2% in 2011 (Moscaritolo). Wong Teck Zhung, the senior market analyst with IDC's Asia/ Pacific client devices team, stated that "[Chinese] smartphone shipments [were] expected to take a slim lead over the U.S. in 2012[, and there would] be no turning back this leadership changeover" (qtd. in Moscaritolo). This change in leadership means that China will become the leading country-level market for smartphones. Moreover, China even "overtook the UK and became the second largest country in application downloads. A quarter of ‘Angry Birds’ global downloads lies in China. In 2011, 613,445 applications were available in China, 74% of which were free versus 25% globally" ("China at your fingertips"). By the end of the second quarter of 2012, smartphone users in China have hit 290 million, while among them, 59% lies in the age group 18-34 ("Q2 2012"), as indicated from the report released by Iimedia which is the largest telecom and wireless consulting institution in China. Therefore, young people have become major smartphone customers. In terms of the way people communicating, the smartphone revolution constitutes a second major milestone after the Internet. The report from Iimedia shows that by the end of this June, the amount of China mobile Internet users has topped 388 million ("Q2 2012"). For the first time in Chinese history, mobile Internet users have gone beyond PC netizens, and turn into the biggest Internet terminal.
Since China has become the world's largest country of smartphone consumption, Chinese are engaging more than ever with electronic media which is represented by smartphones. It is worth taking a closer look to see how dependent Chinese people are upon their smartphones through some data from a film clip done by GroupM Interaction which is the global leading media investment management group:
More than 500 Chinese magazines have more digital downloads...