Thursday, March 31, 2016

Is the 'smart' phone taking away from our intelligence?

When I was in Elementary school, not even my mom had a phone... In fact I remember the first time she got a phone. I also remember the first time I got a phone and how as a 6th grader I wanted to text all my other friends who had phones, yet I only had a few hundred messages a month before I ran out on my plan. If I wanted to hang out with a friend or see if my mom was on her way to pick me up from school, I didn't waste my texts, but I simply called. This median of having technology but not excessively is how I wish society was today. Don't get me wrong, I love being able to check twitter, Instagram or other social media sites when a lecture gets boring, during an awkward elevator ride, or when there is simply nothing better to do... But is that helping us in the long run? No. I think that struggling through that boring lecture or conversing with a stranger in an elevator or going to find something productive to do when bored are all better alternatives to what todays society has deemed normal. 

According to about 2/3 of people check their phones for notifications even when they haven't noticed the phone ring/vibrate. How much time is being wasted on dependency for notifications when it could be spent doing something else? The answer is a lot. I find myself checking my phone too frequently and that is what has sparked my interest in addressing this topic. Often I will open an app such as Facebook and topics that interest me will automatically flood the screen. The algorithms that these social media sites are using to bring the things I am interested in to the front of my news feed creates that desire to come back more and more often to check it out. Because of this constant desire, during times I have heavy academic loads of work I find myself having to delete the social media applications that I check most, in hopes that it will help me concentrate. However, I find myself still thinking about if I have any notifications even though I already deleted it and what information I could be possibly missing out on. I'm absorbed in these apps and have formed such bad habits of 'needing' to use them. Although smart phones clearly help us access quite a bit of information, past generations gathered the same information through other forms of research and communication that I find much healthier than typing any and every question into a search engine. As Damien said in lecture, many people enjoy the media fasting that takes place later on in the semester because it is a relief to not check the social media that controls so many of our lives. I hope that I can become less dependent on my iPhone and focus more on meeting new people, conversing with old friends in person, and living to make memories that I can share with others through stories, rather than social media posts. 

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