A sad fact of modern life – so get used to it

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If the first thing you did when you woke up today was check your mobile phone, then you are not alone.

Those small devices have replaced flashy watches, expensive handbags and, in some cases, cars as the single most important possession for many of us. Meeting someone who admits to not owning a mobile is almost as rare as discovering rocking horse dung in one’s back garden. A whopping 93 per cent of the adult population of this country own a mobile phone and I dare say many would admit to not being able to live without one. I count myself to be among that shameful army.

At the risk of sounding like my 94-year-old grandfather, a proud member of the seven per cent of Brits who would not know whether to answer an Apple or turn it into chutney, what did we do before mobiles and smartphones?

Back in the late 1980s, mobile phones were considered to be as daft as wearing shoes without socks.

If we wanted to meet someone, we rang them at home or work to arrange a time and a place. We did not have the luxury of texting a family member to discover whether more milk and bread was needed, we would have used our judgement or go out again if we made the wrong call. We survived and it was by no means the Dark Ages.

So why do I and millions of others develop a cold sweat when we can’t immediately lay our hands on these precious devices? I hold my hands up, I am a phone addict but it provides me with the most up-to-date news and makes me feel like I am connected to the rest of the world.

Yes, I do occasionally sneak a furtive glance at my Samsung whilst being addressed on the important news of the day by Mrs Tapp or, to my eternal shame, our five-year-old but I am the product of an era. A generation where technology is an extension of the individual.

A study found that workers who checked smartphones during meetings were considered to be rude by colleagues. I have been on both sides of that argument, but the expectations in the modern workplace is such that the average worker feels compelled to check his or her emails. The world has changed and the smartphone is the one tool that many of us need to survive the daily rigours of such a relentlessly demanding environment.

To moan about the phone use of others is akin to complaining about how loud a family member breathes. It is a sad fact of modern day life so we all had better get used to it.