So far, 2020 has presented our society and the world with challenges that were unthinkable in the recent past. Not only that – today’s issues are dividing us like never before. Tune into almost any news station or app, and you might feel anxious, angry, fearful, or sad after reading the first few headlines.
This is the other side of the coin with our “connected” world. Our ability to access news and information about the world at large, our country, our state, and our city while interacting with our closest friends, family, and even complete strangers is growing exponentially. It’s becoming easier and easier to connect with everything – including opportunities to gamble – and more and more difficult to disconnect.
Would You Do Anything 2,617 Times in a Day? Are You Sure?
How you ever looked around and noticed how many people are on their phones, tablets, and laptops? Your smartphone, smartwatch, smart TV, computer, and gaming console are incredibly powerful devices. How we use them is even more powerful – but not particularly comforting. The below stats about our dependency on devices should be alarming, though they may not surprise you:
- People touched their phones an average of 2,617 times per day, with the top 10% more than doubling that number to 5,427 touches per day
- Phone screen time was 2.42 hours per day for the average user and 3.75 hours a day for heavy users
- The average user engaged in 76 phone sessions in a day, while the top 10% had 132 sessions
Problem Gambling and Technology Can Be a Dangerous Combination
In the study mentioned above, gaming apps topped all other categories in number of touches at 80 per session, followed by shopping apps. In the study, “Video Poker” was one of the top 75 apps with the most total touches (3,564 touches from 94 participants over just 5 days), beating out the Camera app, the Outlook app, the Clock app, and the Amazon app!
Given the COVID-19 pandemic, which may soon see a resurgence, online gambling offers accessibility from anywhere at any time and may be a tempting escape from increased stress or boredom. However, online gambling is not legal in the State of Florida as of this writing, and many operators don’t offer many protections or precautions for problem gambling and may be based offshore. While the majority of people can gamble safely as a form of recreation, for some it becomes a problem that affects nearly all aspects of life.
Think about it – what might happen when you combine increased risk factors for gambling addiction during COVID-19, an average of 2,617 touches per day, and always-accessible yet illegal online betting opportunities? The good news is that help and hope are available for anyone suffering from an addiction to any kind of gambling through the 888-ADMIT-IT (236-4848) HelpLine number.
Take the Challenge and Remember – Help for Problem Gambling is Available
Could you “unplug” from all technology for one hour? Would you make it through an entire weekend? Though it may seem unthinkable at first, remember that in the not-so-distant past, people went about their days just fine without the conveniences afforded by the Internet and today’s mobile devices. You may even be pleasantly surprised by the positive effects of disconnecting for a bit.
Are you familiar with the term FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)? It’s defined as “anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website.” As one could ascertain from that definition, FOMO is a term that originated from our always-connected current reality. While FOMO has you zoomed into your screens, what’s happening around you that you might be missing?
Take it from Ferris Bueller: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” So take the challenge: disconnect for an hour, take your mind off of your devices, go for a walk, observe your surroundings, and see how you feel.
If you or someone you know is unable to stop gambling, whether online or in any other format, confidential and multilingual help and hope are available 24/7 through Florida’s 888-ADMIT-IT Problem Gambling HelpLine. The HelpLine is also available for concerned loved ones and can additionally be reached by text at 321-978-0555, by starting a live chat at gamblinghelp.org, and by reaching out to the Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling (FCCG) on social media.
 “Mobile Touches: Dscout’s Inaugural Study on Humans and Their Tech.” dscout, 15 June 2016, blog.dscout.com/hubfs/downloads/dscout_mobile_touches_study_2016.pdf?_ga=2.158493882.1449839686.1591914935-370487630.1591914935.
 “FOMO: Definition of FOMO by Oxford Dictionary on Lexico.com Also Meaning of FOMO.” Lexico.com, Oxford Dictionary, www.lexico.com/en/definition/fomo.
 Hughes, John, director. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Paramount Pictures, 1986.