Smartphones are a wonderful piece of technology, helping improve communication and make life more enjoyable. However, there are downsides to smartphone usage, and research and experts are urging people to unplug once in a while, or they may suffer social and psychological harm. Here is a balanced look at the pros and cons of smartphones and how you should handle your own smartphone usage.
Smartphones Mimic Signs of Addiction and Cause Stress
Recent studies have shown that college students are spending 9 hours a day on their smartphones, which is much more than many spend sleeping. Experts say that many smartphone users show signs of addiction to their smartphones, with anxiety and depression occurring when people lose their smartphone or don’t have access to it. For many of these people, their addiction interferes with their ability to perform tasks and maintain relationships with friends and family.
At the same time, smartphones are proven to cause stress, with many people unable to separate their work from their life. That feeling of never being able to put down your smartphone and unplug creates a constant source of tension for many people.
Smartphones Are Making People Less Social
On a gut level, many people realize that they spend too much time on their phone. If you’ve ever seen a group of people sitting at a table staring into their phones and not saying a word to each other, you might understand why smartphones are a problem.
Studies have shown that in many ways, smartphones are making us less social, such as one from the University of Maryland. That study showed through a series of experiments that smartphones make you less likely to engage in “pro-social” behavior, which is characterized as showing empathy towards another person like volunteering at a charity. Researchers believe it has to do with smartphones making people feel connected with other people, but only providing in an artificial connecting on reality.
Despite the concerns about how smartphones make us less social, there are also good counter-arguments that in many ways they make us more social. Smartphone users often expanding the amount of people they know through social networks and help augment their real social life with their cyber social life. Social media simply makes it easier to keep in touch with a large group of people, including friend and family members who you would otherwise lose touch with.
Makes The World Smaller
The instant information and connectivity provided by smartphones provides a powerful change in society. People can now find the love of their life, join a local meetup, or learn about a new culture just by just browsing their smartphone. With the right smartphone, you can perform video chat, share your photos with other people, and keep on top of the world’s breaking news. For example, the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge has a 5.5 inch screen and 12 MP camera, making it great for staying connected.
Provides an Outlet For People
Let’s face it. Not everyone would be a social butterfly without smartphones. Some people are just more introverted. Smartphones and the web in general helps many people communicate better, build social networks, and find people with similar interests as them. People who had trouble building rich social lives before smartphones might arguably have a better chance now with connecting with others.
The simple fact is that smartphones are a powerful tool for your life, but using your smartphone in moderation is probably the best practice. Try to build in some holidays where you take a break from your smartphone, even if it’s just a day or two to reduce stress and clear your head. At the same time, try to cut the overall amount of time you spend on your phone each day if it exceeds 5 hours. Your body and mind will thank you for it.