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  • Rob: Hello, welcome to 6 Minute English. I'm Rob.

  • Catherine: And I'm Catherine.

  • Rob: So, Catherine, how long do you spend on your smartphone?

  • Catherine: My smartphone? Not that long really, only about 18 or 19 hours.

  • Rob: No, sorry, I meant in a day, not in a week.

  • Catherine: Er, that's what I meant too, Rob – a day.

  • Rob: Oh wow, so you've even got it right here...

  • Catherine: …yep, got it now, Rob. Yes, I should tell you that I suffer from FOMO.

  • Rob: FOMO?

  • Catherine: FOMO - Fear Of Missing Out.

  • Something cool or interesting might be happening somewhere, Rob,

  • and I want to be sure I catch it, so I have to keep checking my phone, to make sure, you know,

  • I don't miss out on anything.

  • Rob: So we could call you a phubber

  • Hello... I said, so you're a phubber?

  • Someone who ignores other people because you'd rather look at your phone.

  • Catherine: Oh, yeah, that's right.

  • Rob: It sounds like you have a bit of a problem there, Catherine. But you're not the only one.

  • According to one recent survey, half of (the) teenagers in the USA feel like they are addicted to their mobile phones.

  • If you are addicted to something, you have a physical or mental need to keep on doing it.

  • You can't stop doing it. You often hear about people being addicted to drugs or alcohol,

  • but you can be addicted to other things too, like mobile phones.

  • So, Catherine, do you think you're addicted to your phone?

  • How long could you go without it? Catherine?

  • Catherine!

  • Catherine: Sorry, Rob, yes, well I think if I went more than a minute, I'd probably get sort of sweaty palms

  • and I think I'd start feeling a bit panicky.

  • Rob: Oh dear! Well, if I can distract you just for a few minutes, can we look at this topic in more detail, please?

  • Let's start with a quiz question first though.

  • In what year did the term 'smartphone' first appear in print?

  • Was it: a) 1995, b) 2000 or c) 2005.

  • What do you think?

  • Catherine: OK, you've got my full attention now, Rob,

  • and I think it's 2000 but actually can I just have a quick look on my phone to check the answer?

  • Rob: No, no, that would be cheatingfor youmaybe not for the listeners.

  • Catherine: Spoilsport.

  • Rob: Right, Jean Twenge is a psychologist who has written about the damage she feels smartphones are doing to society.

  • She has written that smartphones have probably led to an increase in mental health problems for teenagers.

  • We're going to hear from her now, speaking to the BBC.

  • What does she say is one of the dangers of using our phones?

  • Jean Twenge: I think everybody's had that experience of reading their news feed too much,

  • compulsively checking your phone if you're waiting for a text or getting really into social media then kind of,

  • looking up and realizing that an hour has passed.

  • Rob: So what danger does she mention?

  • Catherine: Well, she said that we can get so involved in our phones that we don't notice the time passing

  • and when we finally look up, we realize that maybe an hour has gone.

  • And I must say, I find that to be true for me, especially when I'm watching videos online.

  • They pull you in with more and more videos and I've spent ages just getting lost in videos after videos.

  • Rob: Well that's not a problem if you're looking at our YouTube site of course, there's lots to see there.

  • Catherine: Yes BBC Learning English, no problem, you can watch as many as you like.

  • Rob: Well, she talks about checking our phones compulsively.

  • If you do something compulsively you can't really control it -

  • it's a feature of being addicted to something,

  • you feel you have to do it again and again.

  • Some tech companies though are now looking at building in timers to apps

  • which will warn us when we have spent too long on them.

  • Does Jean Twenge think this will be a good idea?

  • Jean Twenge: It might mean that people look at social media less frequently

  • and that they do what it really should be used for,

  • which is to keep in touch with people but then put it away and go see some of those people in person

  • or give them a phone call.

  • Rob: So, does she think it's a good idea?

  • Catherine: Well, she doesn't say so directly, but we can guess from her answer that she does,

  • because she says these timers will make people spend more time in face-to-face interaction,

  • which a lot of people think would be a good thing.

  • Rob: Yes, she said we should be using it for keeping in touch with people -

  • which means contacting people, communicating with them

  • and also encouraging us to do that communication in person.

  • If you do something in person then you physically do it

  • you go somewhere yourself or see someone yourself,

  • you don't do it online or through your smartphone,

  • which nicely brings us back to our quiz question.

  • When was the term smartphone first used in print?

  • 1995, 2000, or 2005? What did you say, Catherine?

  • Catherine: I think I said 2005, without looking it up on my phone, Rob!

  • Rob: That's good to know but maybe looking at your phone would have helped because the answer was 1995.

  • But well done to anybody who did know that.

  • Catherine: Or well done to anyone who looked it up on their phone and got the right answer.

  • Rob: Mmm, right, before logging off lets review today's vocabulary.

  • Catherine: OK, we had FOMO, an acronym that means Fear Of Missing Out.

  • Something that I get quite a lot.

  • Rob: And that makes you also a phubber -

  • people who ignore the real people around them because they are concentrating on their phones.

  • Catherine: Yes, I do think I'm probably addicted to my phone.

  • I have a psychological and physical need to have it. My smartphone is my drug.

  • Rob: Wow, and you look at it compulsively.

  • You can't stop looking at it, you do it again and again, don't you?

  • Catherine: It's sadly true, Rob. To keep in touch with someone is to contact them and share your news regularly.

  • Rob: And if you do that yourself by actually meeting them, then you are doing it in person.

  • And that brings us to the end of today's program.

  • Don't forget you can find us on the usual social media platforms

  • Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube - and on our website at bbclearningenglish.com.

  • Bye for now.

  • Catherine: Bye!

Rob: Hello, welcome to 6 Minute English. I'm Rob.

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A2 UK catherine rob addicted smartphone fomo jean

Learn to talk about smartphone addiction in 6 minutes!

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    Evangeline posted on 2021/03/09
Video vocabulary