Smart Phones: The Dumbing Down of Society As We Know It
Published: Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 03:01
With approximately six billion subscribers worldwide, it is time for some proper research into the social, economic, and long-term effects that cell phone technology will have on the world.
Mobile devices equipped with the internet have become so ubiquitous and ingrained into people’s lives that the negative and positive impacts can no longer be ignored.
I consider myself a rather easygoing individual and there are very few things that get me going. Inappropriate and dangerous use of cell phones, however, is one thing that makes my blood boil.
Using a cell phone as a distraction for oneself or one’s children, teachers on their phones during class, and general frivolous browsing of the internet in the middle of a meeting, conversation, or meal are a few examples of inappropriate use in my book.
While this brief list entails mostly just annoyances that do not necessarily impact society directly, it is my stance that they represent a gradual decline in basic human connection and intimacy.
Various studies across the globe have indicated the presence of a legitimate fear of being without mobile contact coined nomophobia (no mobile phobia). A 2012 study sponsored by SecurEnvoy revealed that the percentage of people who exhibit such anxiety rose from 53 percent to 66 percent in 2008.
It is important to note that members of the 18-24 age group reported the highest percentage of phobia. The second most was the 25- 34 age group, and in third place was the 55 and up group.
Perhaps not even people my parents age can remember what it was like before cellular communication.
There is no reason to believe that this number is going to decrease anytime soon. Real life conversation and eye contact seem to be going the way of the landline.
New Verizon Android DNA advertisements even claim that their new product is “not an upgrade to your phone, it’s an upgrade to yourself.” Although this ad shows a physical pseudo-integration of the device into the consumer, the real concern is that such devices have grown to represent a real integration of the consumer’s emotional and social status into the device.
I see far too many parents around town paying more attention to their Droids, iPhones, and tablets than they do to their irreplaceable offspring. One solution that people seem to be implementing more and more is to simply purchase such a device for their infant to play with instead of teaching them social interaction.
Today’s youth are being raised in part by screens and headphones, and it is impossible to foresee the potential consequences of this change until it is too late.
More importantly than these subtle societal shifts is the dangerous use of mobile devices. I am talking about the use of such devices while driving. People fail to realize that every time they choose to distract themselves behind the wheel of a vehicle that they are endangering the rest of us.
The National Safety Council estimates that 1.6 million crashes every year involve the use of cell phones.
This is a highly disturbing statistic that seems to be taken lightly. Still individuals seem incapable of putting the phone away, and keeping it away.
The notion of parting with the screen for a day sounds like nonsense, but for the sake of future generations, I think it may be a good practice to get into.