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Is smartphone dependence a problem or just the way of the future?

Smartphones can be useful — for communication, social media, news, directions, and banking but are they indispensable?

Fifteen years ago, we couldn’t possibly have imagined the advancement in the technology we now carry like a necessity.

New research from the University of Virginia suggests smartphone dependency has consequences beyond the physical. It is eroding societal trust.

People are turning to their phones, not fellow humans, for help. Rather than stop to ask someone for directions, for example, we use our phone and, in the process, deny ourselves those spontaneous friendly interactions that build cohesive communities.

Many youngsters seem to have lost the art of communication as they are so engrossed in their phones, they forget to engage with those around them.

Our memories are no longer challenged.  We no longer need to memorise phone numbers and it is too easy to “just Google it” wherever we are. Our social interactions are constantly being interrupted by calls and messages. And as for the perceived dangers .. people walk into other pedestrians and traffic while being preoccupied, tapping away on a mobile screen.

What are your views?  Are you dependent on your mobile phone?  Do you feel lost without it? Are our smartphones making us less smart? Are we relinquishing our humanness by the use of smartphones?

Is smartphone dependence a problem or just the way of the future?

98 people have already voted, what's your opinion? Yes - it is a problem No - it's the way of the future

What are your views?

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1BA
28th Aug 2017
0
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I have a smart phone but am not a big user of it can go days and even weeks without using it. I do get annoyed when on public transport and all you can ear are parts of phone conversations. My elderly friend was having tea at my house. She said could I explain what she had overheard on a bus when a lady was having a conversation on her mobile. What followed was me having to explain she had overheard someone discussing a sex act. She was mortified my 28 year old God daughter was hysterical with laughter. When she had got over the shock my 90 year old friend said its true you do live and learn
SueC62
10th Aug 2017
0
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Addiction to Facebook is the problem, not smartphones which are just tiny pcs and phones merged. Having a smartphone gives me the ability to carry out a lot of tasks quickly. I can book holidays without having to wait for the weekend to go down to the travel agents where I can only purchase the holidays they sell. I can quickly check the weather at my destination without waiting for the TV weather. I can switch my central heating on/off whilst abroad - I don't have to phone a friend to run round to do it for me. I can order anything I want without going to a shop (although I prefer 'proper' shopping). I can 'see' and chat to friends in other countries from the comfort of my sofa. Basically, having a smartphone is very convenient.

Facebook has some positives too. I have reconnected with long lost friends, which have ended up in face to face meetings. I can keep aware of what is happening in my friends' lives when I can't get to speak with them. I also get reminders of things I've done in the past. On the other hand it's the first thing I look at when I get up, followed by the news app. I can spend ages looking through '55 things that.....' And I'm sadly addicted to Solitaire and Peak but hey, I sometimes put the phone down and read my Kindle instead 😉
Alicia
26th Jul 2017
-1
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It is a nuisance, everywhere you go people are busy shouting into phones ! They don't realise how stupid they look.
Munsterlander
25th Jul 2017
2
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Its a way of life especially with the internet on mobile phones. i saw a programme on Korea recently and everyone is using their mobiles all the time for the internet. I think its a bit same in China
Billh
23rd Jul 2017
4
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Many things in modern life can be over used and/or abused. I believe that the smartphone has been a huge boast to the ability of people to communicate with one another and in that it has Revolutionised our lives.

There are times I am sure we all witness or hear of the above connectivity being abused such as harresment by way of some social media sites. However, that should not be allowed to detract from the huge benefit that smartphones have brought to almost all peoples lives.
Yodama
21st Jul 2017
2
Thanks for voting!
Phone anger.
Do you experience peoples irritation when you don't answer their call or text back immediately?
I seldom carry my phone and when I get home I get irate messages saying " where have you been and why didn't you answer, I sent you five messages?"

In the "old " days, if you were out the phone would ring and people would know you were not home.

Now I feel I have to stand to attention and be alert all the time in case someone wants an immediate answer.

Maybe that is the reason people have their phones surgically attached, in case anyone gets annoyed if they do not reply within seconds.
I like my phone for when I want to make a call, or receive a call, nothing more.
Psychiatrists will no doubt have a new label for irate phone users, and also for those who do not wish to carry one.
More pills?
Greenise
21st Jul 2017
2
Thanks for voting!
They would be useful if they were JUST phones. It's all the other stuff that has made £millions for someone that is the trouble. While people will pay silly money for this they will continue to laugh all the way to the bank.
Barton babe
21st Jul 2017
0
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I do not have a smart phone nor do I want one. Every one around has one, why they need to be on the thing all the time I do not know. I find people even as a guest in your home needs to be on it, it is the just bad manners. walking down the street I see people walking towards me not looking where they are going, I do not get out of their way, if they bump into me that wakes them up. Technology is all right in it's place, but please get a life, you are missing the real world.
WendyJ21
21st Jul 2017
2
Thanks for voting!
It is the way of the future, unfortunately. They are useful and can be fun, but damned annoying. The number of times I have replied to the person next to me and been embarrassed because they are speaking to a phone and not me. It just seems so rude when you are with someone who is busy clicking away to someone else obviously having a private "chat". You wonder, am I so boring they need contact someone else.
Yodama
19th Jul 2017
0
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On the downside, we are engulfed with Electric Haze, ultrasound pollution which is ( allegedly ) making people sick. Some claim to be very sensitive to EMF's.
TPTB say it is all in our heads, hypochondria! Wonder what the truth of the matter is?


If we were to become part Cyborg and have neural lace or other implants fitted to interact with everything else electronic, ( yes the day is not far off) would our bodies accept or reject it?

Would it make us ill or hackable? ( heart pacemakers are at risk of being hacked.)
Elon Musk says we must hurry up to be ahead of or in line with AI, or we will be like their pet cats.
Laws are being enacted in Brussels now, specifically for Robots and AI.
Hmmmm! Brain hacking, well there is a new thing to think about. The mind boggles!
MrsPat
18th Jul 2017
4
Thanks for voting!
I think its a problem for society as we are all just looking at our phones rather than looking at each other and the world around us. How can this social media be so important?...oooops I am on it now...
jeanmark
16th Jul 2017
4
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A friend of mine, in his late eighties, has decided that evolutionary wise, babies in the future will be born with phones in theirs hands.

Personally, I have to resist the temptation to put my foot down on the accelerator instead of the brake when a person is so busy looking at their phone, they just step out in front of me. Maybe they should look 'personal safety' up on Google!!
Wilf
16th Jul 2017
6
Thanks for voting!
Its the future and we need to get on with it. The smartphone for me is just one step in this technology revolution. In 50 years we will have all this technology implanted in our brains. In 2067 we will just say "contact my wife" and we will be put in touch together via phone and images relayed to the brain. Its the future and its coming to us all soon. Technology will shrink and will got infinitesimally faster. What is now a phone will be the size of a fullstop in 25 years. Lets embrace it...we are not going to go backwards thats for sure.
Lionel
17th Jul 2017
4
Thanks for voting!
Wilf, I'm not a Luddite, nor backward looking, but I am a cautious man. Not against the advance of technology per se but deeply concerned at the way, in just a few years it has impacted on two generations and big corporates have created a dependent people for enhanced corporate profits. And here I'm not just referring to computers.

There are few if any checks and balances on these corporates - to big to be found sinning! It's all about the balance sheet. It's about powerful lobby groups etc. No! It's about people.

Wilf, we live between three small Suffolk market towns, old places with narrow streets. There just isn't road space for driver or pedestrian to make a mistake. Yet I've lost count of the number of times, while crawling up a high street, a youngster, glued to a screen and ear plugs in has stepped out in front of me without looking. I've had a couple of very near misses. An inch away from death yet they don't even look up from their 'phones.

These devices are causing a quantum shift in people's awareness of the world around them, whether it be traffic, family or whatever. They're in a digital world. A manufactured world and therefore at the mercy of the software designers. They're open to be manipulated by others, and they are.

I said I'm not a Luddite but this weekend my nearly son-in-law took me on about tech. He's vehemently opposed to the internet, phones etc. My case? There's nothing inherently wrong with the internet or phones. It's the way big corporates market their products and services intensively bring that dependence. It's about how they are used.
Wilf
17th Jul 2017
4
Thanks for voting!
Lionel, I sort of agree and disagree...Trying to stop the technological revolution is like King Canute stopping waves-its not going to happen. The big tech companies are interesting. All of them started with one or 2 chaps in a garage or room...Microsoft, Google, facebook-its fascinating. then they grow and grow exponentially . I don't think they or their people want to behave like a big corporate its just the way humans are. the bigger and more powerful the tribe-the more arrogance it displays.
Lionel
17th Jul 2017
3
Thanks for voting!
Yes, you've got a valid point there Wilf. I hadn't thought of that.

Back in the early eighties I worked for a chap in North Yorkshire, a farmer. He'd begun before the War with forty acre small holding. By the time I worked for him he had seven farms totalling seven thousand acres. OK, War time food prices were sky high, but he was a deft businessman. As old farmers go he was quite kind, but wouldn't have met corporate office standards of the time.

I do think the likes of Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and many other Sun Valley billionaires are megalomaniacs. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Maybe I should be less philosophical; my wife often tells me that.
Wilf
17th Jul 2017
3
Thanks for voting!
I think you are right Lionel. Lets take Zuckerberg-clever bloke comes up with a genius idea and delivers it. Spreads like wildfire and 15 years later her is the 5th richest guy in the world. Wouldnt we all want to do that? Well maybe not as that type of wealth would create all sorts of issues..but yes the boys done good but his company as it becomes a bureaucracy gets top managers who get huge bonuses and they get arrogant and suddenly hey presto from one chap with a great idea you have a mega company thats steamrollers all else before it. Bit like countries in that regard-"rise and fall of the great powers" and all that!
Yodama
15th Jul 2017
4
Thanks for voting!
Smart phone dependence sounds like an addiction. Some are addicted some are not, it is all a matter of how, when and how often it is used.
Maybe we will see therapy groups for Smartphone and gadget addiction in the future.
I love the idea of smartphones, computers and gadgets. makes life much easier and infinitely more interesting.

As for interaction with the human race, not always successful, I have been sent on many a wild goose chase after being given wrong directions from a "human."
It is the way of the future, I'm waiting for the flying cars and holidays in space to Europa ( Jupiter 2) not Europe. Hurry up Richard Branson and Elon Musk!

Maybe the sun's next solar maximum emanation will put an end to all technology, what then?
Wilf
16th Jul 2017
2
Thanks for voting!
I think it is an addiction Yodama..look at all the kids they are on phones 24/7. Go on the London tube or on trains and everyone is looking at their phones!
Yodama
16th Jul 2017
2
Thanks for voting!
Can't wait for the day when we all have implants or neural lace fitted, we can talk to each other on a whole different level then Wilf.

Working on improving my telepathy as we speak.
Wilf
16th Jul 2017
2
Thanks for voting!
Its coming to a town like yours Yodama and fast!. My parents were telling one of my daughters today that in the 40s they had no phone, car, TV and had to cycle to shops 5 miles away. Thats only 70 years ago...2087...technology will move faster and faster-2020 will be the year of the Singularity according to ray Kurzweil and then on things will get VERY interesting!
Pam1960
14th Jul 2017
5
Thanks for voting!
Smartphones do appear to have taken over our lives. I for one am guilty of continuous use. I constantly check emails and messages. I get news updates throughout the day. As a lover of tennis I have followed matches on the phone when I haven't been able to watch them on TV. I purchase goods and book hotels and flights on the Internet. I am in touch with my family on a daily basis using WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, SMS, email and Facetime. Smartphones are the future and also the present. As much as I love the instant access to everything I do enjoy holidays when I get a break away from my phone
Wilf
16th Jul 2017
1
Thanks for voting!
I agree Pam I am always looking at my phone and especially since my kids put Whatsapp on my phone it just beeps all day with messages and photos. Quite good fun actually!
Treehugger1
14th Jul 2017
5
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Yes we grew up in an age when we had to walk to the phone box Roof Top Crow and it wasn't a pleasant experience, but there is no need to rely on smart phones for contact with others, it is just as easy to skype or use a lap top within the home and we don't need to be attached to technology even when out and about our daily business where many older folks only interaction with people happens. The majority of younger people seem to be the ones who are reliant on smart phones, you see them walking down the road, on public transport, even in a group of friends where you would think they would be socializing they are glued to their phones.

Also, yes, technology is keeping us alive longer and I would be interested to know how many of those who are alive are pleased about it. There are not enough facilities to care for the many thousands of dementia sufferers, frail elderly, unhappy and lonely OAPs and then of course there are those who thanks to dialysis spend their (unhappy) lives travelling back and forwards to hospital several times a week. No quality of life, and yes, I have spoken to several of them who wish they weren't on that treadmill.

Banking is safer? I suggest you tell that to all those who have been hacked.

Sorry I disagree, technology is not the be all and end all for a better life, in many ways it has made life worse for humanity. We are no longer social animals, just users counting friends, likes and dislikes etc on social media when we might otherwise be actually engaged in conversation face to face.
Roof Top Crow
14th Jul 2017
4
Thanks for voting!
The writer of this question is very clearly trying to lead us into supporting an opinion that smart phone technology has changed much of day to day society for the worse. The writer's opinion should not stop us Silversurfers recognising the benefits that smart phone technology brings to society and particularly to us oldies.

Eroding societal trust. I think we would need to see the structure and demographics of the research before we give it any credence.

Like many of us, I grew up in an age when you had to walk to a phone box. If it was working, you could pay with pennies for a short phone call. Compare that to how we oldies can now be home in the warm and dry and talk and see our friends and family all over the world. The memory challenges now are pass codes and security numbers.

Lionel. Technology in medicine is the keeping us alive longer, technology is producing much better food, technology is making the air cleaner and technology is making banking and finance more efficient, safer and more transparent. Facebook keeps me in touch with friends in the USA, Australia and all over Europe, without Facebook it would have been Christmas cards and maybe Birthday cards.

Modern technology has been used in the creation of Silversurfers.com. Just think of the enjoyment it brings to Lionel and me. We would not have any kind of interaction without modern technology.
Wilf
16th Jul 2017
3
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I agree Rooftop its a wonderful thing. How could we buy books if not for Amazon-I love it. What about conversing as you say with new friends-amazing. look up train times online as I did yesterday...30 years ago I would have been on a phone for ages waiting for an operator to tell me the times. It is convenient, saves time and is fun!
Lionel
14th Jul 2017
4
Thanks for voting!
In my lifetime western society has moved, but not progressed, from a primary society to a tertiary society. We have moved from a high level of independence through interdependence to utter dependence. Far too many people rely utterly on technology companies to provide a platform for their social lives, satnav in place of maps, and e-commerce instead of visiting shops.

We depend on technology for everything. Smartphones are perhaps the most widely used tech, along with satnav. But we are depending on the integrity of vast corporations whose only raison d'etre is profit, for this life style. We pay them for creating a very false world by working in that false world and thereby confirming it.

This false world is unreal. There are few moral values. Human flesh is cheapened to the point of valueless. Much time is wasted being social online, often with smartphones, when our generation socialised in the street, at play and later at work. We formed secure friendships - I have a former girlfriend from 1963 and we're still friends. That relationship never went sexual. But what worth has a Facebook friend? Who is that friend? He's a few lines of hexadecimal code. My friend is flesh and blood, a sentient, feeling being who stood by me in two tragedies. I too have stood by her in life's difficult spots. What price a Facebook 'friend?'

This dependence on tech may be the way of the near future but one day reality must attack. It could be an enemy EMP exploding above us and wiping out all tech and electrics, I don't know.

But I do know for certain, one day, maybe in my lifetime, reality will bite us all in the bum. It has a habit of doing that. Only the few will survive into independence, only the few.
Wilf
16th Jul 2017
3
Thanks for voting!
What do you mean about the independence Lionel?
Lionel
16th Jul 2017
3
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Wilf, I've been delayed by particularly heavy family day. Teenaged angst and all that, I'm sure you know all about it.

Independence? By that I mean freedom from the control, influence, support, aid, or the like, of others. (Consulted Dictionary.com).

That definition is a little bald. I mean similar: self determination, In our generation we own our own homes, are free to transfer our labour to a better employer or to change tack completely. It means we are not slaves to devices nor princes or potentates. We take care of our own best interests.

We are free people, self determining.

What I see in the much younger generation is people enslaved by smartphone/tablet dependence. I saw it today - gotta check my email ... and that in the midst of a dinner I had cooked! Needless to say I had a different opinion!

These youngsters depend on their devices for their existence. They value themselves according to their Facebook likes, or their relative popularity on other websites. My sixteen year old step grand daughter - yep, she was full of angst today - she values herself according to her internet popularity. Her younger brother is little better.

That's dependence. I wrote about being free, not enslaved.
Roof Top Crow
17th Jul 2017
2
Thanks for voting!
Good afternoon Lionel. It seems to me that you are initially suggesting a form of soft anarchy, but then you back away from it.
I know you are averse to any kind of control. But the problem with a society that lacks control is that it cannot have within it a system of support and aid for the sick, the poor and the elderly.

You then go on to say that you want a society where people can buy their own homes, have gainful employment or chose to change career. And all of these things are what we already have in this fully structured, and controlled system of western capitalist democracy.

I think you are like me, and like it or not, you are a fully paid up member of a tightly controlled and managed society.
Lionel
17th Jul 2017
2
Thanks for voting!
Good afternoon Rooftop. Anarchy is not the top of my bucket list, soft or otherwise. Indeed, I deplore the idea. I'm not opposed to a controlled society. What bothers me is that I see controls passing from an elected body to unelected corporate salesmen and executives who market devices and services to the public without any accountability for their effects on that society. In an elected chamber almost everything is up for debate and scrutiny. There are checks and balances. But having stated that as a tenet of personal belief, even that is failing now.

A nation without a framework of convention and law inside which we may dwell safely and prosper is a free-for-all anything goes society. That's what we've got. But this framework cannot prosper people if it is oppressive. It must have more flexibility in it's joints than I presently have.

Neither may the State engage in social engineering or ethnic cleansing, both of which we have seen in recent years.

But this is a much wider subject and would be off-topic. Given a suitable topic I will re-visit it, hopefully with your company.
Wilf
17th Jul 2017
3
Thanks for voting!
Thanks Lionel-Yes to be free...As I get older I am increasingly thinking that worldly goods actually cause more worries and problems than just having nothing-nothing at all-look at buddist priests..yes I understand now what you are saying and I do agree
Roof Top Crow
16th Jul 2017
3
Thanks for voting!
Is this going be like the film "Independence Day" . ?
Wilf
16th Jul 2017
2
Thanks for voting!
Thats where we get invaded by UFOs isnt it Rooftop? cannot see the Aliens wanting to bother invading us lot-best to stay well away!-We are not even particularly tasty unless they just need to look at strange animals in a zoo like environment e.g. Earth!

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