Technological improvements in communication and computing in the last decades have revolutionized our lives in many aspects. The way we interact with each other, as well as the way we work, shop, or learn. Almost everything is different now than it was not a long time ago. That’s obviously great, because now we can do things that we couldn’t before, or at least one can say it is much easier these days thanks to the advance of technology. But nothing is perfect as there’s also a bad repercussion of technology in our lives, which pushes us to evaluate the cost of these benefits.
One of the most used technological tools today is the mobile phone, or smartphone as it’s better known because of marketing reasons. As something that was once restricted to corporate usage, smartphones are everywhere now due to their fast popularization, caused by their power of reuniting lots of services and functions in one single device. They can integrate voice communication, messaging, e-mails, games, entertainment, camera, banking/finances, personal information, and many other things. All in a small object that fits in anyone’s pocket, that you can carry everywhere you go. It’s still surprising to see how many advantages smartphones have brought.
As a result, smartphones have become an integral part of our lives, a must-have accessory. In fact, they have caused people to leave personal computers (PCs) and migrate all their data to mobile. Then, it’s no wonder that they represent a huge proportion of sales for the tech industry, resulting in a big pressure to gain market share and multi-billionaire companies. But this creates a negative impact for both the society and the environment: every year companies launch hundreds of new devices, which is good because it shows that they’re always working to evolve and provide better services, but on the other hand, it forces consumers to be always buying new gadgets, causing pollution and an endless and desperate need for an upgrade every year.
The way we deal with smartphones is also worrying. The easy connectivity and access have turned these devices into something like a drug for millions of people, who cannot live without their phones – as they are constantly checking for new messages, interactions, updates, and events. We are always looking for something to keep us busy and entertained with our phones, and this can bring harmful consequences to our behaviors. One of these consequences is to our brains – recent studies suggest we have become increasingly distracted as we shift our attention to the virtual world and forget to focus on the real world, which can cause attention deficit and diminish cognitive capacity. Smartphones can also be harmful for brain development in children who are overexposed to this technology.
Another bad influence of smartphones on our behaviors is the damage they can make in our social life and emotional skills. The more time we spend on our phones, the less time we have available to interact with others. This makes it more difficult to create social connections and therefore engage in strong relationships, which is detrimental to our mental health. The excess of time spent on our phones, scrolling through social media, is also something that plays a significant role because it can make people addicted more easily and lead to psychological disorders and diseases, like depression or anxiety, for instance. Smartphones also make it easier to access pornography, which could be dangerous for our relationships, our self-esteem, and how we perceive others.
Despite the countless benefits, smartphones can end up causing more harm than good if we don’t assess the things we do with them and how much of our time they consume. These gadgets may come in handy in lots of ways but they must be used properly and mindfully in order not to become threats. We must stay aware of how we use our phones, prioritize our relationships and in-person interactions whenever possible, and designate time to turn off for offline activities. That way we can seize all benefits the smartphones can provide and still have mental clarity to live a more meaningful and healthy life.