Antisocial media: Phones and social life
An everyday person is sitting on the couch of their home when they feel a buzz in their pocket, so of course they must check their phone. Before they even know it, they’ve spent a little too much time tapping through Twitter or Instagram. This scene is all too familiar.
With today’s technology, someone can contact people on the other side of the planet in seconds. They can set up personal social media profiles for hundreds of their “friends” to see. The internet has created the impression that the world is more connected than ever, but what if mobile phones have taken too much control of our lives?
Instead of staring at personal screens to pass the time, people should look up from their phones and interact with each other face to face.
According to variety.com, the average American checks their phone 52 times a day and 85 percent of the U.S. population owns a smartphone, which would be around 270 million Americans. Americans are reporting that they feel like they are overusing their phones at a higher rate than ever.
It’s also a significant problem with teenagers. Common Sense Media conducted a poll that reported that 50 percent of teens feel like they are addicted to their mobile devices. The poll also reported that “72 percent of teens feel the need to immediately respond to texts, social media messages and other notifications.”
Abusing the use of smartphones can also cause other harmful effects. Just being on mobile phones for too long can result in a higher risk of cancer, headaches, decreased attention, and many other negative side effects, according to the Federal Communications Commission.
Additionally, what one spends their time doing on their phone can be harmful. Excessive use of social media can have serious mental repercussions such as depression and the feeling of social isolation, especially in teens, according to Forbes writer Alice G. Walton. Walton writes “The CDC had noted a rise in the rates of both (suicide rates and depression) over the years 2010-2015, and found that girls were particularly at risk: Their suicide rate rose by 65 percent in those five years. The number of girls with severe depression increased by 58 percent.”
Someone may catch themselves mindlessly scrolling through social media during an uncomfortable social event when they could be meeting and interacting with people. Instead of talking with others, they hide themselves in the screen of their phone. When someone is no longer interested in the people in front of them because they are too focused on their phone, that is when excessive phone use becomes a problem. It happens all the time. During a party when everyone is on their phones instead of enjoying each other’s company. At dinner, and the people eating aren’t even having a conversation because they are texting other people. Or maybe at a concert or sporting event, where the fans are tweeting about the event they are at instead of watching what they paid for. These are just a few instances of when technology is blocking actual interaction and conversation.
Smartphones are not all bad. They’re a great tool to communicate and connect with others. In the Information Age we live in, phones provide easy access to information that would typically be hard to come across without a simple Google search, and users can play Minecraft on them - which is pretty awesome. However, there are also dangers in spending countless hours on the phone and people should be aware of the consequences that are involved in excessive cell phone use. Overuse can impact mental and physical health and can hurt someone’s social life.
There are solutions to this massive technology addiction. Apple and Samsung smartphones have features that can limit a person’s screen time so that they are not spending all day staring at their screen. It’s also important to know one's surroundings. When out at a social event, instead of burying their face in their phone, a person could engage in some real life conversation with someone they might have never otherwise talked to. An app isn’t necessary to make new friends.