Smartphones were supposed to make everything easier for us and faster. While they have succeeded in many aspects of this, they have gravely failed us in other areas. Just like with any tool there are positive and negative ways to use it and a phone is no different. We want to take a look at three of the ways smartphones have negatively impacted us. We will do a follow-up article on three positives in the future because we also believe smartphones can be very valuable!
Can You Really Unplug?- Being always connected was supposed to be a good thing. Before you were rarely connected and there were many times when it would have been really good to be able to address something that you needed a computer for or just to get in contact with someone.
What has happened though is we are connected 100% of the time and there are very few boundaries we put up to protect our time and usage. Since the phone is right there and so easy to access, we take any moment we can to get on it. For some jobs, how do you disconnect from work? Do you have your work set up on your personal device? Do you have a work phone that you bring with you everywhere? When do you shut it off? These are all questions we never had to ask in the past.
To Type or to Call?- With messaging becoming more popular because of its convenience, ease of use, and how quick it is, this has replaced many people making phone calls. While sending a message can in many times be faster, it has had two big negative impacts on how we communicate.
The first is we don’t always know how to talk on the phone or even engage in real life because everything is done through messaging. Actually talking to people takes practice and effort to improve if you struggle with it. Sending messages does not make this a practiced habit and becomes a source of fear and anxiety for many.
The second negative impact is that sometimes sending a message is not faster and there is more back and forth communication than if a phone call was made. Sure it might take you 1 minute to send the email, but for every extra email exchange is more time and mental energy you need to put out. Many times a slightly longer phone call (no more than 3-5 minutes in most cases) could have solved the problem.
You Do All That On Your Phone?- While the first two points are important, these are more common and accepted downfalls of phones. We aren’t saying anything that probably has not been mentioned or you may not have already known before. With that being said this last point is one we think many people are missing and that is that we probably are not only doing too much on our phones, but we are doing the wrong things on our phones.
When we say we are doing too much on our phone what we mean is that because you can almost do “unlimited” things on your phone, when you turn on your phone you are almost right away overwhelmed with your notifications and what you can or should be doing. In most cases, we gravitate to the application with the least resistance. How often have you went on to your phone to do something and then 5 minutes later, you forget why you even went on your phone in the first place? This is a sign that your phone is working against you and is controlling your usage.
In terms of doing the wrong things on our phones, there are many reasons why it may not be the most efficient way to do something. For instance, typing out a long message on a touch screen. You could be the fastest touch screen typer in the world and we would bet any day that typing on a full-size keyboard is faster. In terms of screen size and multi-tasking, even with phones getting bigger and bigger, nothing beats a tablet, laptop, or monitor.
There is a reason computers and laptops had a place before and why tablets are still useful. It is just more efficient to do things on these devices. Just because you can do something on your phone does not mean that is the best way to do that thing. Some of the foldable phones are addressing this issue and offer some really cool new ways to utilize that technology. Getting a Bluetooth keyboard for your phone is another way to help with this. You can get foldable ones that are very portable and connect instantly with your phone.
Summary- At Cents of Time we love phones and technology. We think smartphones are great tools that can help us all be more productive and live better lives. With that being said though they also have the potential to control our lives and take us away from the things and people we love. They have addictive tendencies that can not be ignored. We hope to show how they can be positively used in our follow-up article.