The Mindful Survey: Technically Speaking

Answers from our reader survey on life and technology

Illustration courtesy of Vecteezy

Of the following, which personal tech devices do you use on a daily basis:

  • MP3 Player 4%
  • Desktop Computer 37%
  • Tablet 38%
  • Laptop Computer 50%
  • TV 51%
  • Smartphone 91%

Of the following, what do you most often use a smartphone for:

  • Gaming 1%
  • Other 7%
  • Phone calls 12%
  • Social media 18%
  • Browsing the internet 19%
  • Texting 44%

What role does technology play in your life?

30% Say it’s crucial, while 26% say technology is a “necessary evil.” Another 21% admit it’s an impressive feat of human intelligence, 11% could take or leave it, 8% think it’s responsible for making us all more stupid, and 4% consider it a huge burden.

Have you ever experienced tech withdrawal?

graph illustration

What is your favorite thing about personal technology?

  • “Education.”
  • “Information at my fingertips.”
  • “Ability to keep in touch with family and friends overseas.”
  • “Google Maps.”
  • “Reading good books and long articles.”
  • “Distraction.”
  • “Podcasts.”
  • “It helps my creativity—I make music and art on it.”
  • “Turning it off.”
  • “Solves problems.”
  • “Saving time.”
  • “Social media.”
  • “The ease of getting things done.”
  • “Constant availability.”
  • “The ability to send a thought now.”

Do you consider yourself to be:

  • A tech native 10%
  • Pretty competent with technology 72%
  • Befuddled by all these gadgets! 15%
  • Rather averse to technology 3%

When you have a question about a personal technology device, what do you do?

  • 51% Scour the web for a solution
  • 25% consult a family member
  • 20% say they can usually figure it out for themselves
  • and 4% will go to an IT person

Have you ever dropped your mobile phone in the toilet?

illustration phone going down toilet

What bugs you the most about personal technology?

  • “The time it takes to sort and delete email.”
  • “Keyboards.”
  • “Too many notifications.
  • “Technology could be genuinely helpful, but too many companies are fighting for our attention.”
  • “Invasion of privacy.”
  • “It interrupts actual personal connection.”
  • “Staring at a screen all the time.”
  • “Expectation of being available 24/7.”
  • “Upgrades.”
  • “It’s so damn easy.”
  •  “Time suck.”
  • “Ads. Autoplay video content.”
  •  “The way it lures you away from present experience.”

If technology were your romantic partner, how would you describe your relationship?

  • “Ambivalent.”
  • “Seductive,emotionally volatile, supportive except when it’s not.”
  • “I call my wife’s phone her ‘boyfriend.’”
  • “Manipulative.”
  • Unhealthy. Very unhealthy.”
  • “Controlling and addictive but something I can’t do without.”
  • “Reluctant partners.”
  • “Too submissive.”
  • “We don’t sleep together.”
  • “Friend with benefits.”
  • “Cozy.”
  • “I am tortured, but I can’t leave!”
  • “Draining.”
  • “We love and hate each other—both very tenderly.”
  •  “It’s there when I need it—and, unfortunately, when I don’t.”
  • “Tumultuous.”
  • “Unbalanced.”
  • “Joined at the hip.”
  • “Abusive!”
  • “Can’t get enough of each other.”
  • “Tempestuous. Exciting yet burdensome.”
  • “Toxic.”

Most popular answer:

It’s a love/hate relationship.

This article appeared in the August 2017 issue of Mindful magazine.