Smartphones are revolutionary devices; there’s no arguing with that. The smartphone has completely changed the way we interact with digital information as much as it’s changed the way we interact with each other. With any standard smartphone you can take pictures and videos; check your email; keep up with Twitter and Facebook; even manage your bank account! My trusty smartphone does all this and more.
Smartphones bundle so many services in one place, it’s hard not to get attached to them. People rely on their smartphones for calls, texts, emails, sharing photos, Facebook messages, tweets, and so many other forms of communication. Considering all the services at a person’s beck and call, it’s no surprise that some people are downright addicted to their smartphones, checking them every few minutes for the latest updates.
A recent Harvard study confirms this assertion, whereby 60% of those participating stated that they checked their phones at least once an hour. The statistic was even higher for younger smartphone owners, who overwhelmingly stated that they depend on their smartphone at all times. The study went on to say that a majority of the people surveyed in the study consult their phones before and after sleeping, making it the first and last order of business for the day.
A double-edged sword
Clearly smartphone addiction is a real thing in our society, a fact which has its pros and cons. Smartphones can connect us to people across the world and give us access to precious information, but it can also hide us from the present world around us. The smartphone encapsulates all the best and worst of the current digital age: access to infinite information at your own peril.
Consider the advantages and disadvantages of a smartphone to the average college student, for example. On the one hand, a smartphone is quite the powerful tool for someone attending college. They can keep track of email correspondence throughout the day among teachers and peers with the smartphone. They can also use the device to download any number of helpful apps designed to improve their study habits or to help them save money on school expenses. A smartphone with the right financial management app could be a godsend to a student on a budget.
But a smartphone could be just as dangerous for our hypothetical college student. The same smartphone could easily distract and prevent college students from proper study habits. They could waste hours and hours tapping away on simplistic smartphone games or browsing social media tools for purely social reasons. A student might look up information for a research paper on their smartphone and rely on its search results rather than depend on legitimate sources.
What you can do to be less dependent
If you’re one of the many people stricken with smart phone addiction, there are a few things you can do to stop checking your phone every few minutes. Consider these easy tricks:
- Go outside for a simple activity (a walk or a visit to a friend’s house) and leave your phone at home
- Disable your phone’s internet settings for a few hours a day
- Turn off your phone before going to social events
- Set reminders on your phone prompting you to put the phone down
Smartphones are powerful and useful devices, but that doesn’t mean they should take first priority in your life. Limit your smartphone usage and you’ll get what I’m talking about. At first you’ll feel like it’s the end of the world whenever you don’t have access to your smartphone. The world will go on even if you don’t have internet access in the palm of your hand. You’ll probably be better off without it, at least until you can shake the smartphone addiction.
How do you plan to shake your smartphone addiction?
A freelance writer and blogging extraordinaire for seven years, Alvina Lopez now mainly contributes her expertise about online colleges to accreditedonlinecolleges.com. Her ultimate goal is to help future students discover their potential by enrolling in the right program for them. She also writes about trends in education, personal finance, and sustainable living. She loves getting feedback from her readers at firstname.lastname@example.org.