Smartphone Addiction: Habit, Health, Happiness – Episode 28

man snorting iPhone addiction

Just how addicted are we to smartphones? What does it mean for our physical and mental health, and how much does it really matter?  Emily and Melanie review stats on usage, psychological research on smartphone habits, health impacts, and the unclear safety of cell phones.


I. Smartphone proliferation:

  1. Global cell phone subscription soared from 12.4 million in 1990 to 7 billion in 2013.
  2. 2.7 hours per day are spent socializing on our cell phones – twice the time we spend eating.
  3. The typical smartphone user spends regarding $107 monthly for wireless access-more than the typical house pays for electricity each month. –, 10/19/13
  4. 15.7 billion texts are sent each month. That’s 363,426 per minute or 6,057 right this second. –Pong Research, 2013
  5. New moms spend more time on smartphones (their “lifelines”) than other adults. Average 37 hours per month, 20% more time than the average millennial (~31 hours). –LA Times, 10/24/13


  • Research shows that 73 percent of Americans would feel “panicked” without their smartphones
  • In a 2013 study, 30% of people admitted to snooping on someone else’s mobile phone
  • 12%  of people surveyed are concerned that smartphones are damaging their relationships
Why do we instinctively pull out our phones when we have a moment of non-occupation?

mother checking her phone baby stroller falls downChecking habits:

Because we use smartphones in so many different situations, and to accomplish so many different tasks, we develop a vast range of triggers and cues associated with pulling them out and looking at them.
-Scott Campbell, a communications professor at the University of Michigan
What concerns us here is that if your habitual response to, say, boredom, is that you pick up the phone to find interesting stimuli, you will be systematically distracted from the more important things happening around you. Habits are automatically triggered behaviors and compromise the more conscious control that some situations require…

-Antti Oulasvirta, Personal and Ubiquitous Computing

Impacts on Health: Cell Phone Radiation

  • In May 2011, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified cell phone radiation as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”
  • Recall the hidden bit of legalese that comes in the safety manual for Apple’s iPhone 4: When using iPhone near your body for voice calls or for wireless data transmission over a cellular network, keep iPhone at least 15 mm (5/8 inch) away from the body, and only use carrying cases, belt clips, or holders that do not have metal parts and that maintain at least 15 mm (5/8 inch) separation between iPhone and the body.
  • Manufacturers of multiple smartphone brands place these warnings on user manuals to cover themselves in what is still a legally unclear situation. Continue reading “Smartphone Addiction: Habit, Health, Happiness – Episode 28”

2013 FCC Marketing Guidelines & Your Neighbor’s Leftovers – Episode 26


Apple v Samsung smartphones arm wrestling

I. The Samsung Apple War Continues.
The race for digital watch device domination ensues; Melanie weighs in on why Apple and Samsung are becoming the modern day Hatfield and McCoys. Are you pro Apple? Pro Samsung? More importantly, does it even matter anymore? Melanie and Emily ask if brand loyalty is becoming extinct.

II. FCC / FTC Requirement for Telemarketing Robocalls and New Social Media Guidelines.
In April 2013, the FTC announced they would be updating the 1991 Telephone Consumer Protection ACT (TCPA) to align it with the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rules, part of the Do-Not-Call Implementation Act. Text messages are classified with auto-dialed “telemarketing robocalls,” and requires “prior express written consent” from the recipient. Consent can take the form of an “email, website form, text message, telephone key press, or voice recording.” –Written Consent Required for SMS by October 2013

March 2013 update to the Dot Com Disclosures addresses current online and mobile advertising environments, including suggestions for marking social media posts as ads. New 2013 FTC marketing regulations send a clear message to marketers everywhere. Stricter guidelines for contacting and marketing to consumers. Your customer email list may go to zero unless you’ve always had default unchecked email opt-in boxes and a conspicuous paragraph legal disclosure at time of opt-in (which is no one). Effective in October 16, 2013: companies and brands now need to comply with “clear and conspicuous” disclosure at the time of email opt-in.

These measures protect consumers and may benefit marketers in eventually whittling down contact lists to more targeted recipients. But it’s going to be a scramble to reconfirm your existing customers’ opt-ins before October.

How to opt out: Emily urges listeners to join the National Do Not Call Registry.

How to opt out of email marketing:
Register for the eMPS, the Direct Marketing Association’s (DMA) Email Preference Service. You can remove your email from national lists. What is DMA eMPS?

How to opt out of direct mail:
DMAchoice: The Direct Marketing Association’s (DMA) Mail Preference Service (MPS) lets you opt out of receiving unsolicited commercial mail from many national companies for five years. Registering with the MPS will put your name on a “delete” file which will reduce most of your unsolicited mail. Register for DMA’s Mail Preference Service online.

orange Lego man robot telemarketing on black rotary phone robocallsTips on Tap

I. An app for eating strangers’ leftovers. No, we’re not kidding. LeftoverSwap “encourages people to share their leftovers and eliminate food waste while making us more social.” Socially and environmentally conscious, but can it withstand the “ew” factor?

II. Databoard for Research Insights a presentation and inforgraphic/stats tool by Google.    This interactive tool helps you quickly find what you need from Google’s vast research archives.

III.  UberConference: It’s the easiest way to host or join a conference call from mobile. Uber Conference offers free visual conference calls (see callers’ complete social profiles, always know who’s talking, and mute, hang up, or “earmuff” specific callers, etc.) It’s a user-friendly, robust free conference call app and brainchild of Google Voice guru Craig Walker. Select attendees from your phone’s contact list and UberConference automatically calls, emails, or texts them to join, no PIN required. Available in the App Store and Google Play for Android. Tiers: Free basic account, $10/month Pro Account, and Business Accounts.

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Tracking Clicks, Eyes, and Bodies – Episode 17

eye-trackingTechnology (read: customer or user tracking) is providing marketers with more data to effectively target ads and better plan brick and mortar store layouts. The improvements in customer tracking both online and offline can lower advertisers’ CPA and improve the shopping, browsing, or Facebook user experience. Emily and Melanie consider the accompanying privacy issues this episode.

I. Samsung Galaxy S4 and T-Mobile Update

Features a five-inch screen, 13 megapixel camera, Eraser on camera to remove photobombers, eye control, smart audio settings, instant translation tilt to scroll, and more. This might be Emily’s next phone.
T-Mobile announced that it will offer iPhone 5 beginning April 12, 2013 with no contract and an option for a monthly payment plan. This is a major contrast from other major carriers like Verizon and AT&T with two-year minimum contracts. Power to the people sort of!

II. Facebook Custom Audiences and Lookalike Audiences, Facebook hashtags and the new News Feed.

Recently launched Facebook Lookalike Audiences expands upon Custom Audiences. Advertisers can target ads to users similar to those in their Custom Audiences, which contains data like email addresses, phone numbers, and user IDs.

III. Facebook Exchange (FBX)

When it launched FBX in Sept 2012, Facebook was home to 25% of the Internet’s display ads.  In February, Facebook announced it was partnering with data brokers Datalogix, Acxiom, Epsilon, and BlueKai so that FBX program advertisers could get even better data about their target audiences. FBX takes users’ general Internet browsing history and uses cookies to target ads on Facebook. Here is a dizzying visual of how FBX works.
Retail customer traffic heatmap
Retail customer traffic heatmap. 3/7/13

IV. Smart Retail Customer Tracking Using Security Cameras

San Francisco startup Prism Skylabs has developed sophisticated technology that helps business owners track and analyze customer behaviors in their retail stores. Store owners can create timelines and heatmaps showing areas of the store where customers gravitate. Officially launched in late November 2012, Prism Skylabs has dozens of major retailer clients who pay $50/month per store.

Tips on Tap

  1. After changing your Facebook password: How to reestablish the permission between Instagram and Facebook on iOS so that you can post directly to Facebook from Instagram. Apple’s instructions are not clear or complete — you will think you’re stuck in an infinite reset loop.
  2. Babbel app – “Learning languages online made easy.” Available in any browser and as an app for iOS, Android, KIndle Fire, and Windows 8.
  3. System Util: an app to monitor iPhone performance and CPU: System Util

Show Notes


You can download or stream The Digital Dive Podcast at or search for us in the iTunes Podcast Directory–> If you like the show, please subscribe and leave us a review!

The Digital Dive Podcast is on Stitcher, the best free podcast streaming app. New to Stitcher? Please sign up with our link:

Hear us on Stitcher Smart Radio

The Digital Dive PodcastTM: Get the most out of technology… without ever fully giving in