Smartphone etiquette - should you take it to bed?

00:36, Apr 17 2012
Online from bed
ONLINE FROM BED: Smart devices can make for odd bedfellows. Or maybe they belong in bed as much as anywhere.

Lee Plummer checks her phone last thing at night and first thing in the morning. Do you?

Nineteen days I've gone without - without my smartphone, that is.

Which means I've had two and half weeks of no Facebook and no online searches from under the duvet. I've posted no pictures from the pillow.

I used to tell myself that I kept my phone at arm's reach so I could tell the time my newborn son was waking up.

Instead, these two and a half weeks of cellular nakedness showed me what my husband (a non-Facebook user) already knows - I'm addicted.

I check it no less than six times a day. The thought of not being able to Like someone's status update should have no weight, but, if you're like me (a Facebook overuser), then you really miss the opportunity when it's taken away.


Realising how much I use my phone in bed got me thinking. Am I alone?

I put the question to several friends, and 90 per cent admitted to checking their phones while in bed, and a huge 85 per cent acknowledged that they check Facebook, or another online application on their smartphone, before their toes even touch the floor in the morning.

Not-her-real-name Sarah acknowledges that she is too reliant on technology and the entertainment that it provides. She checks while she's in the ladies' room.

While relaxing on the couch, she does her emailing. She's a huge fan of "drawing" while in bed, texts in the car (at stop signs obviously), and Facebooks at work.

She finishes off her technology addiction by saying that the only time she refuses to acknowledge a call or text is when she is playing Angry Birds. Excessive? I think so, but Sarah is not alone.

Out of 520 Facebook friends, who I also queried, only one couple lived by the rule of no phone or television in their bedroom. I wonder if that's why she and her man are so happy? (And recently announced they're pregnant?)

Several of us now use our cellphones as our alarm clocks. No more waking up to the radio, or those awful beeping machines - instead our smartphone wakes us gently, and then is perfectly placed (ie, in hand) to check whatever we want - overnight sports results, weather forecasts, what that favoured celebrity tweeted overnight.

Why are so many of us addicted to Facebook and are guilty of checking it so regularly on our smartphones? The answer, dear reader, is FOMO - Fear Of Missing Out. In fact, if I hadn't checked Facebook in this past week, I wouldn't know that one friend has announced her pregnancy and two friends their engagement (no-one seems to phone this information through any more and that's a bit sad).

I'm not sure if I should find it funny, or incredibly sad, that a huge number of respondents answered my query about their smartphone habits while they were still in bed? Sure, it could just be my Facebook friends who have this problem. And you'd get no argument from me that some of them have FOMO symptoms (particularly not-her-real-name- either Claire, who sets an alarm for 2am daily to check her Smurf Village progress before nodding off to sleep again).

Is there an upside to being so close to technology all the time?

Not-his-name Jamie says YES! In fact, Jamie says that having his smartphone in bed has won him arguments. One night, while debating with his wife the geography of a particular country, his smartphone helped prove that he, not she, was correct.

Geography discussions in bed? Maybe they've got bigger problems than cellphone use?

So, it appears I am not alone in my smartphone addiction, nor what I use it for. And if you are guilty of any of the above, you may want to join this group: "I log off my computer and get into bed, so that I can check FB on my phone". Obviously, you can find this group on Facebook. Think of me, if you're reading this on your smartphone in bed.

Lee Plummer is a former DJ at More FM and now works in PR.

The Press