Smartphones are more ubiquitous now than they’ve ever been before. Honestly, it seems like people are glued to their phones, which is kind of upsetting. If someone’s battery dies or if someone is without their phone for a few minutes, they act like it’s the end of the world. Sure, smartphones are great for many things, but if you are starting to realize that your phone is ruining things for you, you’re not alone — and you’re not exactly wrong, either.
Here are the ways in which smartphones are actually ruining our lives.
1. Being Present
There is a reason why officials in some cities have had to write “Look up!” on their crosswalks. People were getting hit by cars because they wouldn’t look up from their phones while crossing a street. That’s an extreme example, but how many times have you been at a concert or any kind of amazing live event and been confronted with a sea of outstretched arms taking pictures and videos on their phones?
No one experiences life anymore. I mean, think about it. Why would you pay to attend a concert, sporting event, or Broadway show just to watch it from behind your phone screen. Put down the electronics and enjoy yourselves, people! “Pics or it didn’t happen” isn’t actually a thing.
2. Car Accidents
This one is pretty obvious, but if you are texting, tweeting, or browsing Facebook while driving, it makes your chances of getting into an accident so much higher. Just remember that you’re driving a two-ton hunk of metal around. No text, tweet, or status is worth losing your life, or taking the life of someone else.
With dating apps becoming all the rage, smartphones have even killed romance. With just a swipe of your finger, you can judge a person solely based off of pictures and superficial online profiles. Gone are the days when you could admire the apple of your eye and build up the courage to talk to them in person. Now, “true love” is just a swipe away! Except that most relationships that begin on dating apps usually end in failure (no matter what that Match.com guy says).
4. Information Retention
It’s actually astounding to me that so many people can’t rattle off the phone numbers of their spouses, children, friends, or parents. I guess some people feel like it’s unnecessary because our phones store those for us, but what if you get into trouble and your phone is dead?
The same principle applies to the retention of general knowledge. Since the advent of Google, people have been able to look up anything that their little hearts desire at the touch of a button. And if they need to bring forth that fact again, they can just go back to Google. No need to store it in our brains, right? That’s a scary thought.
Have you ever freaked out at the sight of a low battery message? Most of us probably have. The anxiety associated with dying phones is wholly unique to the age of the smartphone. Next time you stop by your local cafe, check out how many people are attached to the wall while charging their phones. Sounds like a blast, doesn’t it?
6. Interpersonal Communication
Have you noticed that people seem to have a more difficult time talking to each other these days? So much of our communication is done via e-mail, text, and other forms of instant messaging that we’ve literally forgotten how to talk to one another.
If you don’t believe me, try talking to someone under the age of 20 for more than 15 minutes without watching them reach for their phone. It’s borderline impossible. And even if they don’t take out their phone, it’s still hard to keep up a conversation with someone who is totally unfamiliar with using actual words to communicate with others.
Good posture has become a thing of the past, and that’s because we’re all constantly hunched over our phones. It’ll be interesting to see how many people from our generation will be able to stand up straight when they’re 80 years old.
During the work day, how many times do you look at your phone? Probably a lot, right? This is especially true if your job isn’t constantly busy and engaging. Next thing you know, an hour has gone by and you haven’t done any work. Smartphone surfing is making people worse at their jobs because they are constantly connected browsing social media.
9. Increased Stress
Have you ever broken or lost your phone? If you have, then you’ve probably experienced the deep depression that goes along with breaking your precious little phone. Most people will spend any amount of money to replace their smartphone as soon as possible for fear that they’ll miss something.
10. Irresponsible Spending
Going off of that last point is the idea of irresponsible spending. Whether you spend $700 to replace your broken phone before the contract is up, or you feel the ridiculous urge to have the newest phone at all times, smartphones aren’t exactly good for your wallet. These companies make people think that they need the sleekest, most innovative phones the second they hit the market. This means that your money is benefiting phone companies and making things a whole lot harder for you.
11. Having Sex
This might sound crude, but nothing kills the mood quite like someone’s phone going off during sex. What’s even crazier is that some people truly cannot fight the urge to look at texts and interactions, even when they’re…you know…in the middle of things!
Don’t you think you owe it to yourself and your partner to remain totally in the moment? Instagram will still be around tomorrow, but if you keep that kind of behavior up, your sex life may not be.
Research from Kent State University shows that people who spend the most time on their phones have the lowest fitness levels. Even with all the helpful fitness apps out there, people are more prone to play games and lie on their couches than hit the gym. In the study, people who limited their phone usage to 90 minutes per day were found to be in the best shape.
If you are using your phone in bed, you are really screwing up your sleeping patterns. Studies have shown that your bed should be used for only two things: sleep and sex. If you do anything besides that, it puts your mind into an active state that will ultimately keep you up at night. Sleeping is more important than checking your likes on Instagram.
We’ve all heard our parents and grandparents going on about how bad our hearing is going to be after blaring those headphones for years. While it may be annoying to hear, what they’re saying is totally true. All you have to do to avoid this issue is keep the volume at a reasonable level. Most devices will actually tell you when things are getting into dangerously loud territory.
15. Paying Attention
Because people are so fixated on paying attention to the phones that are vibrating in their pockets, it’s often difficult for them to focus on the outside world. This can be a problem, especially if you’re expected to do well at school or work.
16. Getting Sick
Using your smartphone too much can lead to an increase in headaches, vision problems, carpal tunnel, and feelings of fatigue. Is browsing Twitter worth feeling like crap all the time? Probably not.
I don’t know about you, but I kind of want to throw my smartphone into a river and break free! Even though none of us will be getting rid of our phones anytime soon, it’d probably be a good idea to take stock in the lives we’re living and stop focusing on what life looks like from behind a screen.