Smartphones have become such a pivotal part of our daily lives, but how are they impacting us as a society? Here are a few benefits and pitfalls to that little computer we carry around all day.
How we access information- Before the day of smartphones we would have to wait for the local library or bookstore to open to access information on any given topic of interest. Now, we just pick up our phone and can find the answers to any question or whim we might have. Though convent, this can also be overwhelming. With overwhelming amounts of information available at our fingertips, we have had to learn how to be objective in our research.
How we communicate- Long gone are the days of landlines, answering machines, and letters. Now, when we miss someone or need to reach out we do it by picking up our smartphones and send an email, text message, video message, call any number, or leave a voicemail. As a result, we are always connected and the expectation to respond when prompted can lead to unwanted stress. The excuses once so viable, such as I wasn’t at home, or I was away on vacation simply do not work anymore. There are so many ways in which to communicate and be available, the impact smartphones have had on our communication abilities is unmistakable.
How we Empathize and Behave- With a smartphone in your pocket, you never have to be bored. You have constant access to entertainment and communication. Having downtime allows us to process information in a deep individual way, in turn allowing us to feel deeply as well. Downtime is a required part of being a human. When we feel, we are better equipped to empathize with others. This helps us with the way we interact as a society by creating our perception of our selves and as a societal whole. With smartphones, it is so easy for us to be seen and heard, at any time. We can respond to people electronically possibly in ways we would never think if we were interacting face to face.
How we learn- With the touch of a button, we have the capacity to research and learn any new piece of information. Smartphones are becoming more accepted in classrooms and new apps are bridging the gaps in our processes of learning. Apps that create a learning environment that feels like a game to help us process new information in a fun way, make it easy to improve math and language skills or learning a new language.
How important is your smartphone and how can you be more responsible in how you utilize it? Take a moment to consider how often you reach for your smartphone during a typical day? How often do your relay on the information it can provide or to stay in contact with those in your life? We often turn to our smartphones for every little need; looking up a phone number or directions, services needed, staying in touch, and even banking. How much time in a day do you spend being connected? Some argue that our dependency on smartphones hinders our ability to maintain the skills required to properly interact with people face to face. And it keeps us from spending the appropriate downtime to reflect on those deep thoughts and feelings.