March 11, 2013

Are Smartphones Good for Society? ~ Kristina Jackson

Photo: Mil8, Flickr Creative Commons

There has never been a century where people have relied as much on their laptops, tablets or mobile phones as today.

How often do you leave your house without your phone? How often do you go to bed without first checking your messages?

Mobile phones have increased our society’s dependency on technology. But this dependency might not necessarily be negative. Maybe it’s healthy to have such a strong relationship with a device?

You’re Never Bored.

People who use Droid cell phones never have to feel bored. Smartphones offer numerous opportunities for entertainment, such as apps, group games, videos, movies, music and many other activities that keep mobile phone users entertained.

Some people argue that boredom creates character, but it also creates problems.

You misbehave when you get bored. You turn into a distraction yourself, which then distracts others. People are still bored when they enter dreaded dead zones. The rest of the time, they’re doing all kinds of things: surfing the Internet, reading books or talking to their friends.

Isn’t this time better spent?

It’s Easy to Stay in Touch with Friends.

Do you talk to your friends a lot with your phone? This is the example used by those who say that smart phones are ruining society by deeply affecting the way people interact with each other. They rely not on phone calls, but on text messages, Facebook and Twitter. Is that really so bad, though? Odds are you now talk to people you wouldn’t have reconnected with otherwise. You’re more in touch with your extended family, high school friends and people you knew years ago. Does it matter that you send texts or comment on statuses to stay in touch?

You’re Always Connected.

With mobile coverage expanding every day, dead zones have mostly disappeared. As a result, mobile users are constantly connected with the world around them. They can easily Google from anywhere, access games and movies no matter where they are and reach out to friends and family regardless of location. While you might see a person on a phone and think they’re being rude or obsessive, realize that they might be talking to their mother, sending someone a gift or playing a game with their child.

You Have an App for That.

There are apps for everything. As a result, people do their banking from their phones, they’re making purchases, sending gifts and taking pictures. They watch movies and television shows even if there isn’t a TV within miles. They read books as well, which causes some ire among bookworms. But these things are positives. Reading an eBook is better for the environment and shopping or banking from a phone saves time better spent with loved ones.

Everyone has an opinion on mobile devices and what they’re doing for our society.

In terms of saving time and resources, keeping people connected and providing constant, enlightening entertainment, I believe they’re improving the way we interact with each other.


Kristina Jackson is a freelance writer in technology and design. When she’s not writing, you can usually find her hanging out with her puppy, Louie while taking cooking classes.


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Asst. Ed: Amy Cushing
Ed: Brianna Bemel

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stephen k May 15, 2013 7:00pm

Smart phones are useful and beneficial to society for all those reasons mentioned above. That’s why I wrote this optimistic and exciting comment!… Just kidding… Smart phones are great, but the extent to which our society sacrifices resources to produce smart phones is frightening. And the phone companies know it. They like to sell us more things that we already have and don’t need more of. Its creating demand! My 6 year old smart phone works fine for everything I need, yet I know people who always think they need the newest phone. Buying new phones and disposing old ones has an environmental impact by using up severely important resources, by polluting during the transportation process, and by releasing toxins in the disposal process.

The saddest part is that a modern smart phone is that its built for short term use only (they’re basically built to break so that you buy a new one), not toughness or quality (which is why an iphone5 breaks after dropping two inches whereas my blackberry curve can be dropped from a two story roof and still work). With the technology we have, you know apple should be able to produce a stronger phone.

These companies are after our money, and they don’t give a hoot about the resources or environment that get destroyed in the process. Wanna fix the broken screen on you iphone 5? Its around $200, so a lot of people will just buy a new phone… Silly silly humans.

Every person who needs a smart phone should have one, but the costs of replacing these phones so often will be destructive for our society when we no longer have the necessary resources to produce tech gadgetry, instruments and equipment, and when our watersheds are polluted with tech run off.

Sorry for being a downer!

Ellen Mar 11, 2013 4:26pm

For those of you who can appreciate the benefits of technology . Just imagine what it’s like for those people with disabilities. Technology has allowed them greater access to conmunication, expression, education, everything.

Take for example a child with autism. A child on the autism spectrum tend to be extremely sensitive to sensory stimulation. It is quite a challenge to get them to focus in school. Yet research shows children who used iPads could focus for far longer and learned more.

There is now an array of Communication Apps on iPads for people who can’t speak and need to use a communication device.

As a vision impaired person myself I have always required a lot of guide dog training to learn new routes around my home city. If I wanted to try a new shop it wasn’t like I could just grab the old street directory out. GPS on my phone changed all of that. I am now able to use maps with audio directions and the zoom large function . I know exactly where I’m going. Whether its a new bus or on foot. For me it was a new level of independence.

I also use my phones Internet frequently. For example if I’m at a restaurant where there are only billboards but no hand out menus for me to peer closely at I can google a particular shops menu and I may be able to find it online.

There is nothing worse than a restaurant who’s menus aren’t accessible. Means I have to get someone to read out the whole damn thing and usually people give me one or two choices. That doesn’t make me feel autonomous.

Technology is grand! 🙂

Leslie Mar 11, 2013 8:26am

I am attached to my iphone for nearly everything…it is without question the quickest way to find an answer to literally any question I have…the world is at my hands…how can you beat a resource like that?? Technology is making people smarter…okay, maybe not everyone. I use my phone more for information than for entertianment…wish that was true for the general population.

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