Is one of the world’s most profound inventions becoming an issue? In today’s day in age cell phones have played a vital role in the way people communicate with one another. There are multiple ways rise of the cellphone has changed the life of the average person, and research supports that assertion. One way they have an impact on our daily life their increasingly widespread use while driving this poses a danger to almost all of us, one statistic from Adolescent Cellphone Use While Driving: An Overview of the Literature and Promising Future Directions for Prevention worries me is that “texting while driving increases the risk of crashing by at least 3-4 fold.” The increase in use of cellphones has completely reshaped the life of nearly everyone. I have been around to witness the rise of the cellphone, all of the sudden you have a computer and access to the internet in the palm of your hand. I have seen this constant connection wreak havoc on the capacity for social interaction of the average person. People seem to have lost the ability to engage in normal conversation with each other. I find this topic really interesting because we all use our phones seemingly constantly, and I feel as if I have noticed a change in my life since having one. This sparked my interest in finding how they actually influence us.
Sherry Turkle, an author and two-time TED talk show guest, argued a strong case for connecting face to face rather than through a screen. Sherry claimed that we never have to be alone when we our constantly glued to our screens and that we can distribute our attention anywhere at any time. She argues that being connected all the time and never being alone in the end actually leads to us being lonelier. This is due to the fact that we never have time for self-reflection when we are always connected. Constant connection gives the illusion that people are always listening to us and what we say. That is powerful beyond measure, and the withdrawals from this constant connection are significant. When we don’t hang up and hangout, especially at a young age, Sherry claims that due to this we don’t develop face-to-face relationships.
Sherry’s claims are that we have to use technology in daily life, not use technology to better our social life. She agrees that when she gets “I love you” texts from her daughter it feels like she’s really hugging her, but it’s when we allow ourselves to become slaves to the screens, texts, and social media platforms that we begin to see problems. She argues the theory that technology is indeed a very easy and efficient way of communication but we cannot allow it to become our sole way of communicating. Sherry states that human relationships are rich, messy, and demanding and we clean them up with technology. Actual human interaction is not clean and tailored. She claims that in those points of conversation where we stumble or we trip up our words or we mess up that is when we are actually revealing our true selves to each other. This way of constantly cleaning up our interactions sacrifices the experience of being in actual conversation and the inability to control what you are going to say is what the human experience is about.
Sherry makes very compelling points of people losing connection to the real world. Thusly, PLoS One, a peer-reviewed science journal, backs this point up by stating that “high phone dependency individuals have high rates of anxiety, social dysfunction, and insomnia...”(PLoS One 2). This idea of psychological damage is further supported by PhD graduate, Tak Yan Lee, who conducted a research study in Hong Kong about adolescents and their addiction to cell phones. Lee found that “A survey involving 471 Hong Kong youth aged 11-21 years old found that… students use text messaging more often than voice-based communication” which is extremely alarming as it is another example of doctored interactions instead of genuine ones (Lee 435).
Although cell phones have some downsides there is still a significant benefit to having them. One example of which being in Uganda where “[t]ransportation to clinic visits and communication between patients and providers are among the challenges that complicate optimal health care delivery in rural, resource-limited settings” it is a means of communication for the people and having cellular devices assists in bridging the gap in their societal needs (Siedner 1). Cellphones have been instrumental in helping our society become more connected, and they have given us the ability to keep connected with people we otherwise would not have been able to keep in contact with. They are revolutionary, you can find the answer to any question you could ever ask instantly. They give people in developing countries more access to healthcare, which is incredibly important in a fledgling society. One can see it is where this technology is useful but when it is abused for extreme leisure we start to see problems surfacing.
Furthermore, many people claim that they “need” their phones, and although that can be true in case of emergencies, excessive surfing and binging on these cellular devices can be harmful to one's health. BioPsychoSocial Medicine has conducted research among college students at a university and found that the “phenomenon of access and addiction to the internet and social networks has been developed among students… students can be exposed to abnormal patterns of sleep, lifestyle changes, and poor academic performances” which can affect relationships, your own sanity, and many more factors (Kawyannejad 2). We all know an addiction rarely good, but when this addiction comes to affect how we live as well as who we are it is concerning. If it is affecting your lifestyle, it changes how you view the world This change due to cell phone addiction can be detrimental to the effort of having, maintaining, and forming meaningful relationships in life.
I believe that we need to disconnect from our phones so that we may see what’s really in front of us. Too many people in our generation surf the web in business meetings, during school, at dinner, and basically anywhere that they have access. I am interested in this topic because I believe having all of this social media, this constant connection is contributing to the increase in issues in our society like anxiety, depression, and high levels of stress. This point is cemented by the evidence presented in Association Between Cellphone Use And Depression Among Medical Students In Hamadan, West of Iran. This study pointed out “cellphone overuse had a significant positive correlation with depression” and also the study stated, “cellphone overuse is associated with and increased risk of stress and long-term depression.” I believe we need to bring more awareness to the fact cellphone use and overuse can lead to these adverse effects. I also think we need to shed the stigma around having these issues and provide more support for people who are afflicted with these issues. I think that this constant need to be connected and this newfound ability to shift our attention from thing to thing on a whim as it interest us is creating difficulties in not only your general everyday interaction but it is also creating a wall between us and our emotions. When we are never alone we never reflect upon ourselves or how we live our lives. You very easily can become absorbed into this digital world of endless size, endless content at the press of a button at all times. This endless amount of content can be a form of avoidance for both our emotions and dealing with the real world along with all the difficulties that life presents. I believe one having access knowledge of all human existence you become locked into this cycle without interaction leading to extreme isolation leading to not only social, and physical problems, but also significant mental issues. If you are constantly bombarded with the highlights of the lives of others you begin to think things along the lines of what am I doing wrong, why is their life seemingly perfect and mine is not. You only see the cultivated image people create and you are not shown the hardships that people have and due to this cultivated image you begin to become disillusioned into believing life is actual just all sunshine and rainbows. I believe this a large contributor to the feeling of constantly being lonely like you are the only one in world facing the issues having. Proponents of cell phone usage may say that being connected allows you access to more resources that can be used to help alleviate these issues, while in theory this is true how many people actually use those resources. Compare that user base to the amount of people that use apps such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter all of which are filled with these cultivated profiles of people with “perfect lives.” Others may say it gives you the ability to communicate with others who may be facing similar issues, but the lack of social skills, the increase of anxiety, among other social issues caused by cellphone makes people who are facing issues less likely to ask for help when they need it. Cell phones are a double-edged sword because while they give you the world at your fingertips, at the same time they create significant problems in our society.
Cell phone addiction can also carry over to your driving habits, thus causing danger not only to yourself but also those around you. The Journal of Family & Community Medicine published an article sampling young adults in Saudi Arabia and found that “young people are likely to have their mobile phones with them when driving, and 85% of them use them” and distracted driving has become an even more prevalent issue with the advent of cellphones (Al-Jassar 2). The number of teens who die every year in vehicular accidents can be directly correlated to the widespread adoption and use of cellphones in recent times.
The evidence presented has shown that cellphones are both a blessing and a curse. Cell phones are extremely useful and convenient for things such emergencies, base communication, and as tools for access to information. At the same time, using them can lead to effects such as sleep deprivation, mental health problems, a lack of social skills, and many other negative consequences that can negatively impact your life. A discussion of both the negative and positive effects of cellphone use can allow all of us to use them more efficiently while at the same time bringing more awareness to how they can be detrimental to both the individual and society.
- Delgado, M. Kit, et al. “Adolescent Cellphone Use While Driving: An Overview of the Literature and Promising Future Directions for Prevention.” Gale In Context Database, Title, 22 Aug. 2000, kidd.blinn.edu:4414/ps/retrieve.do?tabID=Journals&resultListType=RESULT_LIST&searchResultsType=SingleTab&searchType=BasicSearchForm¤tPosition=4&docId=GALE%7CA459001258&docType=Abstract&sort=Relevance&contentSegment=ZXAY-MOD1&prodId=OVIC&contentSet=GALE%7CA459001258&searchId=R6&userGroupName=txshracd2489&inPS=true.
- Al-Jasser, Fahad S., et al. “Mobile Phone Use While Driving and the Risk of Collision: A Study among Preparatory Year Students at King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.” Journal of Family & Community Medicine, vol. 25, no. 2, May 2018, pp. 102–107. EBSCOhost, doi:10.4103/jfcm.JFCM_139_17.
- Kawyannejad, Rasool, et al. “General Health of Students of Medical Sciences and Its Relation to Sleep Quality, Cell Phone Overuse, Social Networks and Internet Addiction.” BioPsychoSocial Medicine, vol. 13, no. 1, May 2019, p. N.PAG. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1186/s13030-019-0150-7.
- Markowitz, David M., et al. “Psychological and Physiological Effects of Applying Self-Control to the Mobile Phone.” PLoS ONE, 2019. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0224464.
- Preety, R., et al. “Sleep Deprivation and Cell Phone Usage among Teenagers.” Drug Invention Today, vol. 10, no. 10, Oct. 2018, pp. 2073–2075. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=131602202&site=ehost-live&scope=site.
- Siedner, Mark J., et al. “High Acceptability for Cell Phone Text Messages to Improve Communication of Laboratory Results with HIV-Infected Patients in Rural Uganda: A Cross-Sectional Survey Study.” BMC Medical Informatics & Decision Making, vol. 12, no. 1, Jan. 2012, pp. 56–62. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1186/1472-6947-12-56.
- Tak Yan Lee, and Diego Busiol. “A Review of Research on Phone Addiction amongst Children and Adolescents in Hong Kong.” International Journal of Child & Adolescent Health 9, no. 4 (October 2016): 433–42. http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ccm&AN=120830556&site=eds-live.
- Barati, et al. “Association Between Cellphone Overuse and Depression Among Medical College Students in Hamadan, West of Iran.” Avicenna Journal of Neuro Psycho Physiology, Avicenna Journal of Neuro Psycho Physiology, 10 Nov. 2016, ajnpp.umsha.ac.ir/browse.php?a_code=A-10-2-60&slc_lang=en&sid=1.