Ottawa woman won’t drive until she conquers phone 'addiction'

A young Ottawa woman who is almost constantly glued to her iPhone won’t be getting her driver’s licence anytime soon.

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The 19-year-old’s father says he won’t allow her to get behind the wheel until she tackles her cellphone “addiction,” which has begun to affect her sleeping patterns and attention span.

And Chantal Menard seems to have taken the first step towards rehabilitation: admitting she has a problem.

“I can’t really put my phone down,” she told CTV Ottawa.

According to a 2013 report from Google, Canadians heavily rely on their smart phones -- sometimes to a fault. Of 1,000 Canadians surveyed, about eight in 10 said they didn’t leave the house without their mobile device. About 35 per cent said they’d sooner give up television than lose their smart phone.

Chantal says her iPhone is almost always within arm’s reach, which is the prime reason her father won’t let her drive.

“If her phone just went off, not necessarily texting, but she would look for it or get distracted. It just takes that split second,” said Pierre Menard.

Ottawa psychologist Eva Fisher says she’s seen a growing number of patients suffer from social isolation due to their reliance on smart phones.

In one instance, Fisher says she saw a mother let go of a baby stroller to check her phone, sending the stroller rolling down a hill.

“That to me is an addiction,” Fisher said.

Chantal says she’s taking earnest steps to regain control over her life, such as doing chores without her phone nearby.

Still, agrees that she’s not ready to drive just yet.

“I’m easily distracted and I find it dangerous right now,” she said.

With files from CTV Ottawa and the Canadian Press


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