You feel panicky when you don’t have it. You can’t go more than an hour without it. You depend entirely on it ever since you got it. The more you use it, the more you love it and need it. Though it may sound like we’re talking about a highly addictive drug, we’re actually referring to smartphones.

One in five Americans has one and if you know anyone that does, you most certainly have witnessed the symptoms listed above. Researchers questioned what this type of constant cell phone usage can do to our brains and discovered that it decreases our ability to focus deeply, think creatively and be more productive.

Besides the negative effects on our brains, the smartphone addiction also affects people socially. A man informed CNN that he will be so absorbed in his phone that after an hour of web surfing and app exploring he realizes that he has been ignoring his wife.

Not that we are saying these phones will destroy your families (unless you’re a total d-bag) but the level at which the phone absorbs a person’s attention with its constant entertainment and notifications is a bit distressing. At this point though, going back and eliminating this type of technology or halting its evolution does not seem plausible or necessarily desirable.

The only solution seems to be … self-control. So far, though, that doesn’t seem to be working all that well: Douglas Wilson told CNN he impregnated his wife because he forgot to check an iPhone app that explains the details of the rhythm method. Yup, there’s an app for that, but we won’t go into the details — mostly because we don’t know them. This same man also downloaded a Bible app (only $7!) to read a scripture in front of the congregation at his church.

It seems like smartphones are seeping into many aspects of daily life. Admittedly the phones do have a lot of conveniences, but where exactly is the middle ground between excessive usage and absolute disconnectedness?

Image Source: KINGjeorge under Creative Commons
Smartphones: Our national obsession [CNN Tech]

Dave said:
Oct 19, 2010 at 11:41 pm

Its always interesting to think how another decade of advances in information technology and telecommunication might further change people’s behavior. But I think Douglas Wilson’s urge to have sex (he is male after all) and, consequently, his wife’s impregnation would have happen whether or not he owned a smartphone. Sounds more like he was using technology as a scapegoat. Its silly to put so much emphasis on smartphones when we don’t know what would have happened in the absence of technology and compare the two outcomes. There have been new technology in the past that greatly and permanently changed behavior (e.g., birth control and fermentation to make alcohol) but I am not sure I am ready to believe the current media obsession with smartphone use is of the same caliber and power. Guess only time will tell.

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