Ryan Kaplan is undergoing a digital detox this weekend. The 31-year-old psychology post-graduate will be among thousands of people around the world to switch off their mobiles, tablets, laptops and computers for 24 hours to enjoy a bit of old-school interaction.
''It's to give myself a break and to break the cycle of that compulsion to check the phone or emails all the time,'' he said.
According to a recent Nokia survey, Londoners check their mobile phones about 150 times a day. That's once every 6½ minutes while awake. For Mr Kaplan, that seems excessive. But he admits that without a landline at home, his smartphone has become his primary point of contact. He manages five email accounts on the device, which he also uses as a watch, alarm clock, music player, camera, source of news and fitness monitor.
''I don't feel that I am addicted but I do feel compelled to check my emails, Twitter feed, messages and so on,'' he said.
Reboot, the group behind National Day of Unplugging, says more than 2500 people have signed on to switch off this weekend. Ironically the success of the event is measured in the digital sphere: last year, more than 5300 tweets about the digital switch-off circulated.
Reboot' s associate director, Amelia Klein, said while the concept applied to all screen-based electronic devices, mobiles were by far the most popular.
''It's the accessibility of them,'' she said. ''It's like your wallet. You don't really go out without it now.''
Phones are no longer just phones. Smartphone use has increased from 67 per cent a year ago to 76 per cent now, according to the latest Australian Mobile Phone Lifestyle Index.
The survey of more than 3000 people found a third checked their email on their mobile phone at least five times a day. A quarter visited websites or searched online at least five times a day, while 17 per cent used their mobile to buy things online at least once a week.
Telstra's Smartphone Index reveals the average smartphone user spent 6.2 hours a week browsing the web on their phone, while 4G smartphone owners spent seven hours on the web.
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