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A huge crowd filled St. Peter’s Square waiting for the new pope to emerge from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican last week. In anticipation of this historic event, it appears from a recent photo that almost everyone opened up their iPhones, iPads and other smartphone devices to either photograph or video his appearance. What a stark contrast to a photo taken in 2005, which shows only one person holding up a flip mobile phone to capture Pope Benedict’s emergence as the new pontiff.

According to Portio Research, there are approximately 6.9 billion cell phones worldwide in 2013. This figure is up from 2 billion in 2005, according to Wireless Intelligence. Data from various surveys indicates that in the U.S. alone, cell phone usage has jumped in the last 10 years from 34 million to 203 million.

Apparently for Some People – Smartphones are better than Chocolate

As illustrated by visual.ly in their mobile use infographic, people are using mobile devices a high percentage of the time, everywhere. At home, in the airport, at the library, in school, at a restaurant, in the doctor’s office – just about every imaginable place. The infographic also reveals that a high percentage of people surveyed would prefer giving up beer, chocolate, super bowl tickets, high heels and cable TV for a month as opposed to giving up their smartphones.

More Mobile Devices = Better Communication??

You would think that in 2013 the massive use of digital devices equates to incredible advancements in communication and our active participation in events. Or does it? How many conversations have you had when the participants in the conversation have either answered a phone call, responded to a text or email, took a photo or video, surfed the Internet, tweeted on Twitter, or posted on Facebook? Don’t forget about the integration of games, TV, and YouTube videos on iPads, more ways to not pay attention to the ‘here and now’ going on right in front of you. We are so anxious to video or photograph or text, post to Social Media what is happening, we should stop and ask: are we really enjoying ourselves? Are we actively participating or are we just archiving our moments to be viewed later? And if we never view our photos or videos, have we completely missed out on life and not lived at all?

Are you willing to take the No Mobile Devices Challenge?

Could you put your mobile device away for a day and just be there for the people you are with? It is hard to imagine, isn’t it? Please write in the comments box, if you think you could do it. And if you could abandon these devices – for how long?

Written by Monica Barber, SEO Manager