Remember when you were five and had an invisible friend? It’s pretty normal, with an estimated 37% of kids hanging out with friends that don’t exist (Eileen Kennedy-Moore Ph.D). For a lot of kids, invisible friends are used for companionship and connection.
If you think about it, a lot of adults use their smartphones in a similar way.
For example, your phone:
1. Goes everywhere with you
Forget shame, you know that you aren’t the only person who brings your phone everywhere. Whether it’s to the toilet, to bed, or to social occasions, you just can’t go without the precious device.
2. Plays games with you
Artificial intelligence allows you to play games with your phone as if it has its own mind and will. Don’t lie…you have definitely chosen to play with your phone over going out, completing chores, or socializing. What’s your favorite game app?
3. Knows everything about everyone else in your life
It knows your every contact. It hears your secrets, listens in on private conversations, and stores all sorts of info about the people you love. Your phone, like an invisible friend, is a trustworthy confidant and is privy to just about everything.
4. Is constantly used as an excuse
Sometimes kids blame their invisible companions for spilling stuff or forcing them into bad behavior. Your phone can be just as good an excuse. Like, for example, when you pretend to have a text or a call so that you can get out of a conversation.
5. Is for your eyes only
There’s a password on your phone for a reason. Other people are welcome to know that your phone exists, but it’s yours and no one else needs to interact with it.
6. Has a very distinct look
Kids are often adamant about the way their invisible friends look. You’re probably the same way about your phone. From buying a special case to selecting your back ground picture to describing the exact model to others, you care about your phone’s appearances.
7. Is well protected
Sure, it’s replaceable and everything stored in your phone is probably also accessible online. But that doesn’t mean you don’t guard it with your life and freak out when it cracks.
8. Keeps you company among strangers
When you were five and all your cousins ignored you, invisible Timmy kept you company. Now, you pretend to text or you clean up your settings to avoid contact or to keep you from feeling bored and alone when you’re out.
9. Is not everything
For as much as you love your phone, you know that when it comes down to it, actual human connection is more important. If you have to go a day or two without your phone, you’ll survive and might even feel relieved.
10. Can become an idol
Psychologists suggest that invisible friends aren’t harmful as long kids don’t confuse the realities of actual friendship with the designs of their minds. This is especially the case when kids let their invisible friends run their little lives.
If your phone functions a lot like an invisible friend, you have to be careful to keep it from becoming more of an idol or master. Phones are a useful tool, but they are just that –a tool.
It’s not like using your phone is a sin, but be sure to examine your heart as you use it day in and day out. Your phone can go from being a helpful device to a resource mastering your time and connections –and at that point, it’s time for a reality check.