Would you say you love your smartphone? Nothing unusual about that — I’m sure many people would say the same. Sometimes we hate our smartphones, too; every good relationship has ups and downs. But would you say that what you have with your smartphone is an emotional relationship? Psychological research suggests that is exactly what we have.
The Universities of Würzburg and Nottingham-Trent have researched how involved we are with our phones, and the results are pretty impressive. Among study participants, 37.4% rated their smartphone equally as, or more important than, their close friends. Perhaps it won’t be long before smartphones completely overtake friends in importance.
The research also found that:
– 29.4% of participants said their smartphone was equally important, or more important to them, than their parents;
– 21.2% said their smartphone was equal to, or more important than, their partner;
– 16.7% rated their smartphone as of highest importance for them, although only 1.1% said their smartphone was more important than anything else in their life.
Married to our #smartphones? For one man it’s become a realityTweet
But still, it’s not exactly what we would normally think of as a relationship. Well, maybe it’s closer than we think: Let’s have a quick look to Las Vegas. On May 20, 2016, a group of people came together at a local wedding chapel to celebrate a very special event: the marriage of Aaron Chervenak to his smartphone.
In reality, Chervenak is a video artist and adventurer, and not actually head over heels for his smartphone. He explains why he went through with the marriage: “Smartphones have become very important in our lives. They are with us all the time, they entertain us, help us to cook, communicate with us — they are actually very social.” So, he says, he wanted to find out if it was possible, and how people would react.
“It was actually pretty interesting: When a friend of mine contacted the wedding chapel, they were surprised but at the same time willingly said: ‘OK, no problem, we will do that.’ It was very easy, and not as a big deal as you might think,” he adds. So, he invited a group of friends and went through with the ceremony.
“Of course it’s not as emotional as marrying a person; the emotional connection is a completely different one,” he says. “And the marriage is symbolic, since by law it is not possible to marry an object. But the message is still there: These little devices have become incredibly precious to us, so my little symbolic act demonstrates that high value.”