Smartphone Addiction: An Essay

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“Why don’t you ever put that phone down?”, “Smartphones are ruining your generation”, “Why are you constantly on that thing?”. These are just a couple of things that I hear from my mom on a daily basis, complaining about how me and my generation are addicted to our phones. There is no shortage of adults that scold younger people about their phone usage. Yet anytime I am out in public everyone I see is glued to their screen, regardless of their age. And any time I’m out with my family, every person is absorbed in their smartphone, my mom and dad included. So why are parents so quick to blame their kids for something that they are guilty of as well? Smartphone addiction is a serious problem not only experienced by children but by adults as well.

Just over a decade ago, Steve Jobs released the first iPhone. It promised to change the way we live, think, and interact, and it has, but not necessarily for the better. Scientific research has proven that our smartphones are damaging to our minds, relationships, and health. So, why can’t we put them down?

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The seductive allure of the smartphone is that it promises that one will never be alone or bored. The power it contains is limitless, with them we are able to connect with people all over the world and access all of humankind’s knowledge in just a couple of seconds. Smartphones have changed the way we live, but they have also changed us as humans. This is a fact that can no longer be denied, it is measurable in the seconds shaved off our attention span, reduced brain power, decline in work-life balance, and decreased amount of family time. Phones make us more vulnerable to anxiety, impair our memory, and cause parents to ignore their children. But worst of all, they’re addictive.

Media has always been a very powerful tool that has the ability to change the makeup of society. This is not only seen in the real world, but in the dystopian novels we read as well. Take ‘Oryx and Crake’ by Margaret Atwood, for example. In the novel, it is clear that the lack of censorship of media and overexposure to violence lead to the desensitization of humankind and their lack of humanity. The concept of desensitization is also seen in ‘Fahrenheit 451’ by Ray Bradbury. In this novel, society is obsessed with the pursuit of pleasure and as a result, people are always plugged in, to either the walls or the seashell radios, amusing themselves to death. Many of the characters in these dystopian novels are simply shells of human beings, void of any sincere emotional or intellectual substance. Even though these novels show the effects of media to an extreme in futuristic civilizations, ultimately the societies we read about are based on our own world. The overconsumption of media is a growing problem, especially with the recent development and rising use of social media. It is clear to see the negative effects of smartphones on society today.

After 10 years into our smartphone experience, society is reaching a tipping point. People are finally beginning to realize the dark side of the supercomputer we keep in our pocket, gripped in our hands, and buzzing on our bedside table. Awareness of the dangers of cellphone use has never been so prevalent. Just last year, ex-employees of Facebook, Google, and Apple became vocal on the issues with smartphones and their negative effects on children.

The man who helped develop push notifications at Apple revealed that “smartphones hook people using the same neural pathways as gambling and drugs”. Ex-president of Facebook also admitted that the platform was “designed to hook users with spurts of dopamine”. He confessed that the developers knew about this vulnerability in human psychology and exploited it anyways, making them insanely rich. However, looking back, many of these executives feel guilty for what they’ve done.

While there have always been people trying to scold the users of new technology, warning of the effects of TV and then the desktop computer, the situation with smartphones is different. While TVs and computers are usually restricted to a specific area, smartphones are with us everywhere we go and scarily enough, they know everything about us. Algorithms are specifically designed to figure us out and decide what to display in our newsfeed. They forcefully return to us what we want to see.

The business model of the smartphone itself demands you be glued to your screen. This is because most social media platforms don’t charge their users, but rather require users to spend hours on their site in order to be able to charge advertisers more and more. Developers have programmed the smartphone to persuade us into checking our phone again and again, feeding in to their profits. In fact, according to a 2015 study, the average user looks at their phone about 150 times a day. While that number may seem insignificant, it all adds up. With North American users spending between 3 and 5 hours a day on their smartphone, over time, this amounts to about 7 years spent immersed in our phones over the course of a lifetime.

While it may seem like the odds are stacked against us, there are still some things that you can do to stop checking your phone so much and subsequently better your life. There are several apps out there that track your phone usage to make you more aware of how much time you’re really spending on your phone. Some apps also limit the time you spend based on the restrictions you set.

Ultimately, we are all aware of the negative impacts that smartphones have on our lives. From having difficult falling asleep to struggling to concentrate, the list goes on. Yet for some reason we can’t put them down. It is time that we finally take action and rethink the way we use our devices.

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Smartphone Addiction: An Essay. (2022, September 01). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 30, 2024, from
“Smartphone Addiction: An Essay.” Edubirdie, 01 Sept. 2022,
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