|IPhone 2G PSD Mock" by Justin14|
One of the ways smart phones are affecting us is by deteriorating our health. For example, those who are addicted may have abnormal sleep patterns. This is caused by the blue light in an electronic screen that suppresses melatonin (a hormone that regulates the Circadian Rhythm or Sleep-Wake Cycle) production. Another way it affects sleep patterns is the obligation for many young people to have a 24/7 connection to their peers. Smartphones provide the opportunity to hang out with friends after school, and many teens feel pressured to be talking to their friends all the time. This connection interrupts teens because they will check it while trying to sleep whenever it makes a noise. Lack of sleep leads to increasing levels of anxiety, depression, and irritability, and decreasing levels in focus and creativity. Overuse of smartphones also causes long term effects such as tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, back/neck pain, and even loss of vision. Tendonitis when affiliated with smartphone addiction is caused by too much texting, scrolling, gaming, and other smartphone activities. Inflamed tendons are not something that help in daily life. Carpal tunnel syndrome is another symptom caused by too much repetitive motion (something required for cell phone use) which can create hand and finger pains. Back and neck pain is caused by craning your neck over a cell phone or even your whole back. Loss of vision and some less extreme symptoms are caused by constantly looking at small print on a backlit screen. Another condition which has actually been given a clinical name is nomophobia. It literally means “no mobile phone phobia”.
Smartphone addiction has also been linked to problems with sanity, studying, self reflection, and actual in-person social interaction. With in-person social interaction being a necessity for everyone in order to get through life, one should at least know how to do it. About 67% of those who own smartphone (9 out of every 10 Americans has one) spend equal to or more time online talking to friends than they do offline, and 46% of them use their phone at the dinner table instead of conversing with relatives. It has also been proven that having the option to have an uninterrupted connection to their peers often overshadows the need for young people to connect with their parents. Self reflection and meditation over life is something that many teens need in order to synthesize information in their brain and form more ideas. One in every three teens send about 100 texts each day, and if we were able to take that number down, it would have a very positive impact upon our current and future society.
|This image is from: The Towerlight Photographer: Matthew Hazlett|
Despite there being all of the bad things that can be caused by smartphone addiction, there are many ways you can get treatment for a severe case or learn how to more responsibly manage your time on your smartphones. Some strategies that can be applied to anyone include figuring out which emotions or situations make us want to use our cell phone and finding something else to do instead, turning off notifications, and just finding the time in which you don’t actually need it. Other strategies have been applied to the largest population of people who are texting (teens). Some of the parents of the teens have enforced a rule in which phones must be turned off and/or taken away from their teens which gives them an excuse to get away from the obligatory 24/7 connection with their peers. Another method is to simply convince them that texting and “hanging out” with friends after school is not the only way to be happy. Introduce them to new hobby options which may lead them to meet new people who think alike in person, not on the internet. In some situations, a teen is trying to help a friend through a rough patch in their life, and is extremely adamant about maintaining a connection. A solution to such an event is to simply give the struggling friend a home phone number if he/she is in desperate need of support.
The technology of this century has allowed us to replace so many items with a single device, and it is up to you to decide whether or not to have one. I hope that the information provided on this blog allows you to make a conscious decision on whether or not you really need a smartphone like I did, and if you do, you will make managing the time you spend on it a big part of your usage.
Conclusion (updated 11.12.14)
The responsibility and understanding that is required to use a smartphone can be hard to achieve sometimes, and can have major consequences. But when it has been achieved, one has taken a monumental step towards becoming a more successful digital citizen. The comments on my blog showed that many people have already known a little bit about how smartphone addictions affect our everyday lives. It helped clarify my thoughts upon the problems of smartphones because they showed me how many people had first hand experiences with such a situation. I had to research very little in order to respond to the comments I received other than taking a look at the articles that people recommended. I learned that blogging is a much more research intensive process than I had believed. I also found out that blogging requires lots of revisions and changes, even after it has been posted. I had not blogged or even really looked at many blogs before this instance, and it completely changed my view on what blogging is and how much effort and concentration it requires. Before I wrote this and read many other related articles, I assumed most blogs were just rants made by angry people on the spot. Though that may be the case in some instances, it definitely does not apply to too many of them. Blogging now appears to me as an easy and (somewhat) quick way for someone to get their ideas, opinions, and research out to the world in a format that people will want to look at and absorb. Overall, I believe that writing this and continually revising it has been a good experience.