Ring, Ring! The never-ending sound of your cell phone ringing. According to Pew Research Center, about three quarters of Americans own a smartphone. A prediction of the growing use of smartphones was made by the author of ‘Fahrenheit 451’. Although smartphones have become very popular and effective, they have negatively affected our society in many ways. Smartphones have affected society by limiting our ability to communicate face-to-face and empathize with people, affecting sleep patterns and health, and creating a new addiction.
Foremost, smartphones limit abilities of people to communicate face-to-face and empathize with each other. In the article ‘Your Smartphone Is Changing the Human Race in Surprising Ways’ by Sarah Digiulio, it states: “Less interaction with technology allows us to focus on conversations and interactions with others instead of trying to fulfill cravings for finding new information via smartphones and other devices”. This conveys how the use of smartphones limits our ability to focus on conversations. Smartphones are also changing the way that we share emotions with each other. Diguilio has done some research with others and states, “Just like Carr and others are concerned that this stream of distractions prevents deep thinking, Turkle’s concern is that those distractions also prevent the deep feeling that lets us connect emotionally with others”. Our society is being changed by this because people are becoming distracted by their smartphones. Constant smartphone usage prevents them from concentrating on the task in front of them and being able to talk to people in a verbal way. According to Digiulio, researchers did a study on some kids who went camping for a couple of days. When they came back from having time without their cell phones or other electronics, they were better able to recognize facial expressions and emotions from videos they watched compared to kids who were using electronics for a long period of time. This research has proven to many people that society is affecting children. It is important that children and others have the ability to communicate face-to-face with people, and smartphones are making it difficult to do so. All of this suggest that smartphones are preventing us from empathizing with each other.
Additionally, smartphones are affecting our sleep patterns and health. Many people have heard of the hormone melatonin, which is a hormone that helps control your sleeping patterns. The blue light that comes from smartphones negatively affects the production of melatonin which can cause your sleep to be disrupted. In the article ‘Your Smartphone May Be Hurting Your Sleep’ by Susan Scutti, it states: “Other research has shown that the blue light emitted by smartphones (and other digital devices) might suppress our body’s production of melatonin, a hormone that induces tiredness and contributes to the timing of sleep-wake cycles”. Research has shown that the blue light coming from smartphones is causing our bodies to become tired. This is affecting our society because more and more people are starting to have disturbed sleep patterns and feelings of tiredness. Poor sleep leads to poor health. Scutti also states, “Additional research suggests that poor sleep - including low quality of sleep - is a risk factor of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and depression”. The article by Scutti says, “About 35% of those who used their smartphones for shorter amounts of time than average had sleep difficulties, compared with 42% of those with average use. And poor sleep quality was more likely for participants who used their smartphone near bedtime”. The amount of time people spending on electronic devices, such as smartphones, plays a big part in the amount of blue light they are exposed to. This is affecting our society because so many people use electronics and smartphone for work and leisure. People are almost always exposed to these lights causing some to experience these negative symptoms. All of this happens due to the amount of screen time people have on electronics.
Lastly, smartphone use has affected society by creating a new addiction. Many people become distressed when they do not have their smartphone. An article titled ‘Hooked on Our Smartphones’ by Jane Brody states, “In ‘The World Unplugged Project’ investigators at the University of Maryland reported that a clear majority of students in the 10 countries studied experienced distress when they tried to go without their devices for 24 hours”. Not only are smartphones affecting our society in the U.S., but also people in other countries. The World Unplugged Project shows that excessive smartphone usage is affecting a lot of students and children. The issue of becoming distressed goes back to how the smartphones are affecting our health. These students are becoming addicted to their cell phone whenever they do not have it. Addiction to smartphones is commonly seen in children who spend many hours using electronics, as well as, the smartphone. In the article by Brody, it states, “Children who over use online media are at risk of problematic internet use, and heavy users of video games are at a risk of Internet gaming disorder”. This was researched by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The addiction to smartphones can be similarly compared to an overuse of Internet and video games. Even though this is an addiction related to electronics, it is no different than other addictions where people become attached to or dependent on something. The article states, “Ms.Colier, a licensed clinical social worker, said that: ‘The only difference between digital addiction and other addictions is that this is a socially condoned behavior’”. The addiction to smartphones is very similar to other addictions.
Smart phones have had a direct effect on our society. Although smartphones have many benefits, there are several cons that we need to acknowledge. As the use of smartphones grow, so do these effects on society. It is important to limit the amount of time spent on a smartphone and to use it wisely. Smartphones have affected society by limiting our ability to communicate face-to-face and empathize with people, affecting sleep patterns and health, and creating a new addiction.