Welcome to generation “fidgital”

The New York Times introduces a new word -- and pegs a new problem

Topics: tech, smartphones, addiction, devices, iPhone, Internet Culture, Language, , ,

Welcome to generation "fidgital"

Remember that horrible date who wouldn’t stop checking his phone during dinner? Remember the not-so-nice word you called him afterward? Well, the New York Times is here to help. Your companion wasn’t being rude, just fidgital.

(FIJ-IH-TULL), ADJ.

1. Excessively checking one’s devices. “Victoria grew tired of watching her fidgital fiancé glance at his iPhone every five seconds.” See also: Supdate (food-related status); keybard (a skilled texter).

Lizzie Skurnick might have been joking when she coined the new word, but she’s clearly on to something. A recent study by the University of Maryland’s International Center for Media & the Public Agenda found that smartphone users exhibit actual withdrawal symptoms when forced to abstain from using their devices. The study also found that many subjects felt physical discomfort after not checking their phone for extended periods of time:



Although I started the day feeling good, I noticed my mood started to change around noon. I started to feel isolated and lonely. I received several phone calls that I could not answer. By 2:00 p.m. I began to feel the urgent need to check my email, and even thought of a million ideas of why I had to. I felt like a person on a deserted island … I noticed physically, that I began to fidget, as if I was addicted to my iPod and other media devices, and maybe I am.

A 2012 survey by the Pew Research Center reveals that 46 percent of all American adults now own a smartphone — up 25 percent from 2011. If you’re one of them — and want to seek help for your fidgitalism — WebMD has a step-by-step guide to breaking the cycle of smartphone addiction.

And remember: It’s one day at a time.

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at kmcdonough@salon.com.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 13
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Api Étoile

    Like little stars.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Calville Blanc

    World's best pie apple. Essential for Tarte Tatin. Has five prominent ribs.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Chenango Strawberry

    So pretty. So early. So ephemeral. Tastes like strawberry candy (slightly).

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Chestnut Crab

    My personal fave. Ultra-crisp. Graham cracker flavor. Should be famous. Isn't.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    D'Arcy Spice

    High flavored with notes of blood orange and allspice. Very rare.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Esopus Spitzenberg

    Jefferson's favorite. The best all-purpose American apple.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Granite Beauty

    New Hampshire's native son has a grizzled appearance and a strangely addictive curry flavor. Very, very rare.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Hewes Crab

    Makes the best hard cider in America. Soon to be famous.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Hidden Rose

    Freak seedling found in an Oregon field in the '60s has pink flesh and a fragrant strawberry snap. Makes a killer rose cider.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Knobbed Russet

    Freak city.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Newtown Pippin

    Ben Franklin's favorite. Queen Victoria's favorite. Only apple native to NYC.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Pitmaston Pineapple

    Really does taste like pineapple.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>