It seems crazy how one 19-year-old invention has changed the way our lives run on a daily basis. Many people believe the first game-changer was the original iPhone, but smartphones were invented eleven years prior to Apple’s take on the smartphone. The Nokia 9000 Communicator was the first ever revolutionary cellphone that promised internet features, a camera, email and games. Thanks to Nokia, we have been utilizing these smart-features on our phone without taking a moment to consider their advanced nature.
However, the first ever smartphone was not universally praised. Many critics scrutinized them for being obscenely expensive and impractical. People thought, why would I need a phone with internet capabilities when I already have a computer? Now, today it’s nearly impossible to find anyone without a smartphone, tablet or a smart television. We were once shocked by how many people even owned a cellphone, but now, 61% of the U.S. population owns a smartphone according to a study conducted by market land.
How are smartphones dominating our lives? While smartphones are great tools, the amount of time consumed by them isn’t so great. In a survey of thirty Holliston High School students, when asked how much time they spent on their phones, the answer was unanimous: “Like the entire day!” The honest answer would likely range from 8 to 10 hours per day and the rest of the time would be leftover for sleep and binge-watching television. Does this sound healthy? Not so much, right?
Cell phone users make plans with people that take fifteen minutes longer due to writing out what could be said in less than thirty seconds, no longer keep in touch with many family members because they could check their Instagram accounts, spend more time on the phone than working, studying or even having a simple face to face conversation.
Don’t get me wrong — smartphones are great. The answer to any potential burning question is only a Google search away and if someone is busy at work, they can be sent a simple message for later.
Many express themselves by taking a dramatic or silly photo to commemorate a fun time. Based on the survey of HHS students, ten percent reported that they took no pictures using their phone, thirty percent gave a number somewhere near twenty, and the rest assumed there were too many to count.
I also was curious to see if people used social media to express themselves. In the survey, students were asked when feeling down, whether they would be more likely to post something about it via social media via smartphone or talk about it with someone at home? Seventy percent said they would post something about it versus the 30% who said they would talk face-to-face with someone at home.
So, is the smartphone dominating the lives of average teenagers? I encourage teenagers and adults alike to ask themselves the very same questions I posed: how much time do you really spend on your phone? How many pictures do you take daily? Are you using your phone to express yourself, or just as a distraction?
To reconnect with our lives outside of our smartphones, it is essential to go outside with friends or go for a light jog and listen to nature. Go out to eat with new people, leaving that demanding phone of yours behind! I advise all smartphone users to try, just try, to stay off the phone for more than three hours. I promise, it’s not the end of the world.