At one time or another it's happened to all of us. We're sound asleep in the middle of the night and our phone wakes us up. Not because we'd set the alarm, but because of some other sort of notification. Who is at fault? Us for not turning off the notifications? Or the other person for texting us at 3:00 in the morning?

That was the topic of a recent YouGov study and the results were not as cut and dried as they might have been. Only about 50% said the responsibility was ours for not controlling the devices around us. The other 50% was split between the responsibility of the person texting at 36% and not sure at 14%.

As you dig down into the data the older the sample the more responsibility we place on ourselves. Younger respondents tended to put more blame on the other person. There was no appreciable difference between the opinions of men and women on this topic.

This is one of those conundrums that only 21st century people have had to deal with. Sure, we can switch our phones off at night, but for many of us our phones double as our alarm clocks. There's always airplane mode, where the alarm would still function but no signals would be sent or received overnight.

phone on white background. Isolated 3D image
Sergey Ilin Thinkstock

I've found that simply turning the volume all the way down will usually work for me. It seems to be a good compromise, a text, Messenger, or Facebook notification may cause the phone to vibrate just a bit, but that's not going to wake me if I'm actually asleep. If a text message comes in late and I'm not yet asleep I can glance at it and decide if I'm going to act on it right then or wait until morning. If someone actually calls - yes, these digital devices can actually be used to carry on voice conversations - it's probably something important and the continued vibrations even in silent mode will most likely wake me up. If you've signed up for some sort of weather alerts those would still come through to warn you of impending severe weather for your area and that's something we do need to contend with from time to time.

Ultimately, it's up to each of us to control the technology around us and not let the technology control us. Remember, any message that come in to our phones in the darkness of the night will still be there when the sun comes up in the morning.

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