Everything in moderation... even mobile phones

Put that smartphone down! Well, sometimes... Photo: Matt Grayson/PA Wire

Put that smartphone down! Well, sometimes... Photo: Matt Grayson/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Well done, Simon Cowell, for giving up your mobile phone for 10 months.

I mean it: for most people it would be impossible.

In fact, for many people five phoneless minutes would be too tricky.

It'd be going over old ground to run on about the way mobiles are changing society for the worse.

It's enough to cite the example of parents playing with their phones while walking their children to school, and families having dinner out, with all of them looking at their mobiles.

But our devices are not demons - they do not represent the end of civilisation, the death of social interaction or the collapse of humanity (except when people chat on them while on the train or bus).

There are so many things about mobile phones to celebrate, so why make them a zero-sum game? Why go for all or nothing?

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Think of the extra freedom mobiles have given to children as they grow up - and the security for parents who want to keep in touch with them.

Then there's the bonus of text messages, which enable us to keep in contact with friends and family near and far. Phones can be used for games, exercise tracking, checking the weather forecast, paying bills, controlling your heating and so much more.

I'm actually writing this on my mobile, though more through necessity than choice.

The point is, there is no reason to banish them to the cupboard and embark on some heroic bout of self-flagellation - complete with a blog to ensure that plenty of people know how virtuous you are.

Surely there's a middle ground? There must be a way of phones augmenting, not dominating, our lives.

I think it's about common sense and common decency.

Mealtimes are times when phones should be switched off or left in another room. Also, if you share your bed with someone, don't add your mobile to the mix.

Looking at your device while walking is another no-no, largely for the safety of other pedestrians.

It's all about moderation, not starvation.

Oddly, so long after the Middle Ages, we seem to want to emulate monks by having periods of fasting from things.

It's all the rage, what with official events like Dryathlon and the odd habit of increasing numbers of non-Christians going without something throughout Lent - like alcohol, chocolate, sex, TV or crisps.

I keep hearing people telling me how they've given up coffee, stopped eating bread or gone vegan (which is almost a fashion statement for some people).

I'd rather enjoy a coffee, a beer, a sandwich, some bacon, a piece of cheese and a chocolate bar in moderation than deprive myself entirely.

The same goes for my mobile phone - though I have a long way to go.

Do you agree with Steve? Could we do with using our mobile phones less? Let us know in the comments below or write to us at edpletters@archant.co.uk