In the past, before phones and the Internet, all communication was face-to-face. Now, most of it is digital, via emails and messaging services. If people were to start using virtual reality, it would almost come full circle. (Palmer Luckey). Perhaps no other device in history has embedded itself in the lives of everyday consumers more than the smartphone. If you were to ask someone to go a week without their smartphone they would think you are insane. Society uses smartphones daily for a great variety of tasks, from chatting to checking emails and receiving directions to ordering food, sometimes more than a computer. Even though smartphones are changing the world for the better, social skills and face to face interaction is missing because smartphones are changing the way our brains work and its technology is killing the art of conversation.
While it is true that smartphones have become an essential and convenient tool for our daily lives, they ultimately create harmful habits that have affected our health and relationships with one another. In recent years we have been decreasing our physical activity and this has created major issues affecting our health. Easy and accessible communication is not always good communication. A psychology professor from Virginia conducted a study to see how smartphones affect how we communicate and found that in conversations where someone pulled out a smartphone while talking, participants generally rated the conversation as less fulfilling than in conversations where no one pulled out a phone. If we could learn to put down the phone more often, we would be able to engage and connect with the real people around us. Additionally, electronic communication means less face-to-face conversations, more distraction, and more stress. We depend so much on smartphones that often it becomes an addiction, and this is a real problem.
People will argue that we have come a long way as technology advances, smartphones can help in a case of emergencies, getting to a place a lot faster and so much more. Others think mobile communication has made getting in touch with people much easier, and that a smartphone is one of the greatest technological advancements ever created. But as great as all of the things are, we are missing out on personal and physical bond, family time, creating friendships and learning about better ways to deal with other people in general. Smartphones are a great communication tool if used correctly but just as it can help in the case of a problem it can also create the problem.
Communicating through smartphones texting is an easier way to reach someone but insignificant because most times the conversation is misunderstood as the words have no feeling and voice, and you read and interpret them on your own. Can we learn to live with smartphones and not for the smartphones? We are slowly losing the social skills that we have learned as children, and instead, we have become ignorant about handling conflict and rejection properly. Our parents’ generation was strict but humble, but today’s millennials are very sensitive and easy to react. That’s another reason for the behavior we see out in the world today.
Smartphones encourage habits and behavior that can be damaging to our health and relationships. The long-term effects of this are divorce and loneliness. Bad smartphones habits and excessive usage is affecting the way we have face to face communication, is replacing the relationships and affecting the families. (Upreti R, Singh R. September 2017;8(9):1075-1078). The smartphone is undoubtedly a historical landmark and as more technology is developed, so will our lack of humanity because we are becoming phone smart and not people smart.
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