According to a survey by Nielsen, 66 percent of Americans between the ages of 24-35 have a smartphone. The advantages of smart phones are obvious–easy, quick access to the internet, entertainment, and social networking sites.
But is that actually good?
Iphones decrease face to face interaction. Due to the instant access to communication, people are more likely to send someone an email or a quick text then tell them something face to face. People with iphones often pull out their phones to check social media sites, the weather, or snapchat, all while a person without access to internet on his phone is trying to have an actual conversation.
The problem with iphones is not that their users can access the internet–it’s that they have changed American culture into one that is addicted to social networking. A study by the University of Chicago found that “checking email and social media is more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol.” Researchers cited the high availability of social media–stemming from smartphones–as one reason as to why social media sites have the potential to be so addicting. Smart phones allow people to check their social media sites after just two or three taps of their fingers, whether they are driving in the car or at school. One study found that 9 percent of the people they researched even checked their phones during a religious service.
Even psychologists are worried about Americans’ smartphone obsession. One psychologist, Lisa Merlo, considers some habits of smartphone users problematic, such as their willingness to play with apps and games rather than making eye contact and having a conversation. One woman, Michelle Hackman, researched teens’ attachment to their smartphones. She found that students who were separated from their phones had a lower heart rate and were under stimulated.
Smartphones are obviously very useful tools in such a technologically-oriented society. But if they enable people to become drones who can’t hold actual conversations, then it seems as if the disadvantages outweigh the benefits.