Like it or not, gadgets have become a key part of people’s lives in Singapore, as consumers spend most of their waking hours on digital devices – 12hr 42 min a day on average. And spending so much time has had both a positive and a negative impact on people’s lives, in areas such as their relations with others and sleep.

This is according to survey findings released in February on the impact of digital devices – such as mobile phones, tablets, computers and video game consoles – on people according to a report at Straits Times. Accounting for the most time spent on a gadget in a day on average is the mobile phone, at 3hr 12min.

The top gadget people use here is also the smartphone, with 95 percent saying so, and its effect on people is telling – almost 80 percent of them check their smartphones when waking up in the morning or just before going to bed.  While many – nearly 30 percent – said that their sleep has been negatively affected by mobile gadgets, a similar number said there has been a positive impact. Even so, about 70 percent have enjoyed a boom in communications with their friends and are better able to complete personal errands and multitask, thanks to smartphones and tablets.

The study by consultancy Ernst & Young (EY) polled 1,000 people aged 18 to 69 who resided in Singapore for at least a year and had access to the Internet. The top online activity they engaged in using their gadgets daily was reading personal e-mails, with 90 percent of respondents doing so.

But the heavy use of digital gadgets is not without issues. About a third of respondents admitted that they were addicted to smartphones and tablets. People are generally spending way too much time on their digital devices, said Dr. Michael Netzley, academic director at Singapore Management University Executive Development.

Humans are very poor at multitasking… We all have limited mental bandwidth, and multitasking through mobile devices rapidly depletes that limited mental bandwidth,” he said, adding that people would have a competitive advantage if they “power off, focus and perform at a higher level”. There are social and health consequences too said, Dr. Netzley. “We wake up throughout the night, checking our devices and damaging the quality of all-important sleep and recharging… People stare at their devices, walk wherever they want without looking and simply do not care about anyone else,” he said.

To address the problem, digital discipline should be taught in workplaces, schools, places of worship and even the media, said Dr. Netzley. “The problem is not the technology. The problem is a lack of disciplined use of the technology.”

First seen at and Source: Straits Time