Your World ;
; Boomers love iPhones, Droids and BlackBerries.
; As tools, they’re helpful, entertaining and cool.
; Maybe too cool. Experts are beginning to worry.
Think of the smartphone as a pocket-size game of chance. “Like a slot machine, whenever you pull a lever, you don’t
know whether you’re going to get rewarded,” says Patricia Wallace, author of The Psychology of the Internet. In other words,
when you hear the iPhone ding, you wonder: Pictures of your
brand-new grandchild? A text from the office? Or yet another ad
for cheap Viagra? Only one way to know—scroll and look. Sometimes you’re rewarded. More likely, you’re disappointed. Increasingly, there’s the risk that you’re overindulging.
by C.J. Burton
By Cynthia Ramnarace
If you love your smartphone, you’re far from alone.
Half of all boomers sleep with their cellphone within arm’s
length. Two of three people ages 50 to 64 use a cellphone to take
photos, according to a 2010 Pew Research Center report. More
than half use cellphones to send and receive text messages, and
a fifth use them for games, reading e-mail or accessing the In-
ternet. Six of ten people over 65 have cellphones. More than half
of them use cellphones for photos. “They’re quickly discovering
that this whole social media thing is cool and exciting,” Aaron
Smith, research specialist at Pew, told the AARP Bulletin.
This smartphone explosion was sparked in part by the
Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, when people became fearful
of not being aware of what was going on or unable to connect
with loved ones. But usage surged with the introduction of the
iPhone in 2007, which turned handhelds
from simple communication devices into
entertainment centers. In 2007, accord-
ing to Pew, 11 percent of Americans said
they had used a phone to access the In-
ternet. That grew to 25 percent in 2009,
and to 38 percent in May of this year.
Texting is especially popular across the
generations. Among cellphone owners,
95 percent of those between 18 and 29,
nearly 60 percent of those between 50
and 64, and 19 percent of those 65 and
over send and receive text messages, ac-
cording to the Pew study. “This is a habit
that many people my age have picked
up from their kids,” says Nancy Berk, 51,
a clinical psychologist who uses texting
and Facebook to keep up with her kids.
“Usually, they’re getting their bad habits