The internet and mobile telecommunications have changed society to a large extent. The age at which children are being introduced to mobile devices has decreased. These gadgets are becoming capable of more and more, and we can only imagine what lies ahead. As with anything, there are many positive aspects of having this technology at the tips of our fingers. There are also some not-so-pleasant effects of this dependence.
Benefits of Smartphones
The benefits of smartphones speak for themselves. This is why this is a fast-growing and very competitive market. Global users of mobile devices are estimated to be well in excess of 2 billion, while in the U.S. alone, an estimated 224.3 million users were active in 2017.
Smartphones provide information, GPS location, communications, and entertainment. Mobile data and wireless technology transformed mobile phones to be so much more than calling and messaging platforms.
Children can benefit greatly from learning apps and guides on smartphones and tablets. This can help them read, recognize symbols, and practice music and math. It only remains to be seen whether smartphones and mobile devices are going to replace many physical learning tools and toys in the future.
Other benefits include improved accessibility, safety and security benefits, and the ability to get help fast in cases of emergencies.
Cons of Extreme Mobile Device Addiction
As the human race, we find ourselves in a place we have never been before. Mobile device saturation statistics have never been this high, and in many ways, we must learn how to navigate the implications as we go. Behavioral scientists and psychologists are watching the impact that the widespread use of smartphones is having on how people interact and communicate.
While technology helps to improve the ease and convenience of communications across town, between states, and even globally, there are some side effects. There is evidence to suggest that mobile devices and the internet can affect interpersonal communications when used without restraint. With so many alternatives, many people and millennials, in particular, are forgoing the calling function of the phone and choosing to message instead. Mobile devices also affect the attention span if not managed properly. Society is becoming highly distracted, and it’s easy to ignore the people we are around to immerse ourselves in our phones. Mobile phones offer a good hiding place when we are in unfamiliar or uncomfortable situations and can hinder our social skills.
When it comes to children and the internet, having free access to everything that’s available online may expose them to harmful and sensitive information before they are ready. Parents need to be vigilant about finding the right balance and protecting their children from negative influences.
Finding Balance with Mobile Phone Use
The best way to manage technologies such as social media and mobile phones is to find balance. Experts are recommending technology and internet detox periods to refresh the mind and explore other channels of recreation. Mobile phones are very often used for entertainment or to kill time, but there are many different ways to use these opportunities without being as dependent or addicted to our mobile phones.
Alternatives include reading, outdoor activities, chatting with strangers, and other hobbies and activities. If a full detox is impractical, carving out a few minutes or hours each day to put your phone aside can be very helpful. It can help with attention and prioritization as well as freeing you to focus on the people you are with.
Too much screen time has also been shown to affect sleep, and many sleep scientists have recommended that people use their mobile phones less in bed to help them get to sleep easier. Using alarm clocks rather than the alarm clock feature on the phone is also highly recommended if phone addiction is keeping you up at night.