Do Smartphones Really Benefit Humanity?
Posted by Zerin
(Special Guest Post by Mr.Zehcnas!)
For over a decade, we have had smartphones that carry out once challenging and frustrating tasks, in a matter of seconds. From one single device you can call many people at once, surf the World Wide Web, check e-mail, play games, Video chat, and even run a business from the device itself. But due to the practicality of the device, many people are questioning whether these smartphones let us move forward in innovation and entertainment, or do they just hold us back?
But, how can smartphones hold us back?
Stuart Crabb, a director in the executive offices of Facebook, once said, “In a place where technology is seen as an all-powerful answer, it is increasingly being seen as too powerful, even addictive”(Richtel). Because smartphones today can do virtually anything, people have begun to rely on them for even the simplest of tasks, like basic communication, which can easily become an addiction.
In addition, because smartphones are so entertaining, they open up to us the world of apps, games, videos, and social networks that have led to a decrease in work productivity in the last few years. “A survey of British office workers found that many are so addicted to new technology that they can’t help but take phone calls, send text messages and access social network sites when in meetings”. (Macrae)
This is something that can be seen across the world as well, in school, work, transits, streets and especially in home. People become fixated on that little screen and hardly get any work done and lose interpersonal communication with the outside world.
Soren Gordhamer, who organizes Wisdom 2.0, an annual conference he started in 2010 about the pursuit of balance in the digital age. He states,“It doesn’t mean what we’ve done is bad. There’s no blame. But there is a turning of the page.” (Richtel)
Ever since the human race existed we have never had a “Need” for a smartphones, it just came along the way as a tool, with means of communication. Even though some smartphones can get blow it way out of proportion (like ones meant purely for games and distractions). And for thousands of years we have gotten along just fine without smartphones. So, why are we so addicted to them now?
Social networks, apps, games, and videos, are designed to entertain us to the max. They are meant to give us hours of entertainment on demand, to our liking. And so, when we have access to something we like, we can’t help but get more and more out of it, leaving us with having done nothing for the longest time and not even feeling fully satisfied.
Like cellphones, when radios, and televisions first came out the older generation though that those who used it were nothing but brainwashed zombies. But as we know, they were means of simple entertainment. And all of that entertainment just moved along in the time line, or it just wasn’t as popular as when it first came out. That or it became incorporated into other devices as well.
But as these and more things were once a fad, experts believe so is the smartphone. Just because one person has one, many people feel that they too must obtain one as well to be equally as happy. And the chain goes on and on. Cell Phone companies provide comic and whimsical commercials that encourage cell phone usage wherever you are.
Kelly McGonigal, a psychologist who lectures about the science of self-control at the Stanford School of Medicine mentioned,“It’s this basic cultural recognition that people have a pathological relationship with their devices,” she said. “People feel not just addicted, but trapped.” (Richtel)
With technology advancing at the pace it is now, many people feel trapped and frustrated never seeing an end to this virtual world of complication and sophistication. They feel too attached to their device and can’t seem to let it go. In fact people have been known to get aggressive if their mobile phone has been tampered with.
How can one stop becoming addicted to their smartphone?
It all starts with the mind. Williams, from “The Montreal” admits, “One thing that unfortunately I do miss out on is that sort of quiet time where I can think about something I want to write[…] Before smartphones came out, you had that down time where you sit on the bus and your mind just kind of wanders and you think of these amazing things. You get out that old thing called pen and paper and you jot it down.” (Gross)
If we could go back in time, we would find more people with open and relaxed minds set more on imagination, than what is already imagined for them, like games and videos. Now more than ever, we need programed or even spontaneous quiet time, away from device that fill our heads.
“At Cisco, Padmasree Warrior, the chief technology and strategy officer and its former head of engineering, a position where she oversaw 22,000 employees, said she regularly told people to take a break and a deep breath, and did so herself. She meditates every night and takes Saturday to paint and write poetry, turning off her phone or leaving it in the other room.
“It’s almost like a reboot for your brain and your soul,” she said. She added of her Saturday morning digital detox: “It makes me so much calmer when I’m responding to e-mails later.”” (Richtel).
The website of CNN.com recommends to people to take some time off from electronic devices, like Smartphones, Computers and Televisions, that can cloud our mind and distract us from real tasks at hand.
When one goes out to the woods for a hike or to the beach for a day in the sun, one can come back more relaxed and ready for the next day. Why? Because we have experienced a technological enlightenment (Or Digital Detox), where we can interact personally and freely with nature and people, free of the distractions of technology.
Like the Chief Technologist at Cisco mentioned, it would be a great idea to take at least one day a week to have a technology free day to relax, read a paperback book, paint, play music, or interact with friends. When we do this, our auto control increases and so does our self esteem, because we no longer feel the need to be attached to our devices like we used to.
In the end, do smartphones really benefit humanity? In a nutshell, only if we have control of how we use them.
Sources and Citations
Gross, Doug. “”Have Smartphones Killed Boredom (and Is That Good)?” ”Have Smartphones Killed Boredom (and Is That Good)? CNNTech, 26 Sept. 2012. Web. 16 Nov. 2012. .
Richtell, Matt, comp. ““Silicon Valley Says Step Away From the Device.” Editorial. “Silicon Valley Says Step Away From the Device. The New York Times, 23 July 2012. Web. 16 Nov. 2012. <“http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/24/technology/silicon-valley-worries-about-addiction-to-devices.html?pagewanted=all” all>.
Macrae, Fiona. “Mobile Phones and Laptops given to Workers Actually DECREASE Productivity.” “Mobile Phones and Laptops given to Workers Actually DECREASE Productivity”. N.p., 4 Aug. 2012. Web. 16 Nov. 2012. .
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Posted on November 23, 2012, in Computers and Internet and tagged Cell Phone, Facebook, iPhone, Mobile phone, Padmasree Warrior, Smartphone, Social network, World Wide Web. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.