A decade ago, smartphones promised to change the way we think and interact with each other, and they certainly have – but are they making us less smart?
In the busy and hectic reality of the modern daily life, smartphones have become a close companion of both professional and personal aspects. A smartphone can be quite convenient because of several features such as efficiency, functionality, connectivity and much more.
But what about the downsides of smartphones? Are we really aware of these negative aspects?
According to a study from the University of Texas at Austin titled “Brain Drain: The Mere Presence of One’s Own Smartphone Reduces Available Cognitive Capacity”, the cognitive capacity and the brain power are significantly reduced when the smartphone is within glancing distance, even if it is turned face down or turned off.
During the study, the researchers found that a person’s ability to process data improved significantly if their smartphone was in the other room while they took a test to measure cognitive processes and their attention control.
Those who kept their smartphones in their pocket or inside a bag also performed better than those who kept their phones on the desk while taking the test. What’s interesting in this study is that even if the smartphone was turned off or face down on the desk, the mere sight of their smartphone seemed to induce “brain drain” by consuming cognitive resources.
What researchers have continuously shown during the past years is that smartphones are causing real damage to our minds and relationships; they have reduced the average attention span as well as the brain power, and they have caused an imbalance of work life and fewer hours of family time.
They have also impaired our ability to remember and to think creatively. They can make us more anxious, and they are addictive. Many people have begun raising the alarm about smartphones, warning especially of their effects on children.
Smartphones affect our ability to talk to other people and they’re making us anti-social. Have you ever entered a social gathering and noticed that half of them are buried in their phones? I certainly have and I’m sure you can relate to it as well.My question is, have we forgotten how to talk and connect with people? Or is our smartphone a security comfort from the discomfort of socializing?
They affect our ability to sleep well. It’s very common for people to keep their phones by their bed during night. It’s also very common for them to go to bed while texting or responding to an email. Going to bed under such conditions will not allow you to relax and get into a deep sleep. Shut the phone off completely at least one hour before you go to bed. Texts can wait, our health not.
People have even died at the hands of their smartphone. Tragically looking down for a second or two to text while driving or crossing the street can lead to a fatality. Fines issued by law enforcement don’t seem to deter users from doing this.
So it’s important for us to be smart and careful about our smartphone use. See your phone for what it is: a tool for communication and for information. Don’t let it define you, nor should it rule your life.
And lastly, don’t let your desire to constantly check your phone prevent you from enjoying daily moments that can only be captured only with your presence.