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Cell Phones’ Adverse Impact on Social Interaction


All forms of technology are important to the day-to-day life of the 21st century. The gadgets that come from are made possible by modern technology and have simplified various aspects of life. Cell phones make up the bulk of technology in modern times. Cell phones have made interpersonal communication easier and they have also served as connectors between various people. Technology has risen at a fast rate and this rapid development has denied social scientists adequate time to investigate its effects on society.

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Nowadays, a cell phone is not only used for communication but it can also be used to watch television, store music, connect to a social network, and take photos. The complexities of this device have elicited the debate about whether cell phones have negative or positive effects on social interaction. This paper aims to explore the negative effects of cell phone use when it comes to social interactions.

An End to Face-to-Face Interactions

One of the most notable effects of cell phone use is that they have contributed to a decline in face-to-face interaction. Most social experts reckon that face-to-face interactions are a fundamental aspect of human interaction. Consequently, most psychologists and other analysts consider a person’s inability to sustain a face-to-face communication to be a social disorder. In the recent past, cell phones have acted as deterrents to healthy face-to-face interactions.

For instance, a group of friends can sit at a restaurant but all of them would be busy perusing their phones. Cell phones provide several social interaction getaways such as chat options, online games, and discussion forums. Interestingly, some people prefer to communicate via text messages even though they are seated across one another.

Research indicates that most people shield their social interaction inadequacies by substituting face-to-face interactions with cell phone usage (Reid and Hall 424). Consequently, people who have good social skills also exhibit good cell phone manners. On the other hand, individuals with below-average social skills often use cell phones as shields against face-to-face interaction. Therefore, cell phones deny individuals a chance to improve their social skills. One researcher found out that the mere presence of a cell phone device in a room is enough to undermine the quality of face to face interaction (Aoki and Downes 350). Overall, cell phones have contributed towards lower quality of face-to-face interactions and interpersonal relationships in general.

Broken Relationships and Lack of Trust

It is a commonly held belief that cell phones contribute to better relationships because they enable seamless connections. However, the ease of connection does not apply to only the parties in a relationship. Having a cell phone allows someone to communicate with people from all over the world. One expert notes that the ease of communication as a result of cell phone usage prompts individuals to place less value in their relationships (Humphreys 812).

For example, it is common for one party in a relationship to turn to social media and express his /her disappointments in a relationship instead of talking things over with his/her mate. Cell phones have also enabled individuals to have and maintain parallel relationships. These parallel relationships act as back-ups to marriages, romantic relationships, and familial connections. This form of escapism has led to many broken relationships and a general lack of trust between partners. For instance, it is commonly debated whether communicating secretly with members of the opposite text amounts to cheating. This debate indicates that cell phones have not brought transparency to relationships as it was earlier thought, but they have only contributed to a lack of trust among partners.

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Cell Phones and Lost Social Productivity

The human-cell phone interaction is not a passive affair but it also requires time and energy. Consequently, every minute that is spent on the phone can be utilized through other productive ventures. Most employers have realized that cell phones lead to a decline in productivity among workers. Consequently, most modern workplaces are cell phone-free zones. An average person is said to check on his/her cell phones every 15-30 minutes if it is within reach (Humphreys 821).

This constant attraction to cell phones is exacerbated by instant messaging services such as Facebook and Twitter. Reduced productivity translates to diminished social interactions in the workplace. For instance, traditionally most workers used their employee breaks to catch up with friends and exchange helpful work tips. Currently, employees’ breaks are mostly dedicated to human-cell phone interaction. This form of lost social productivity has increased the rates of depression, anti-social behavior, and lack of viable support systems in society.


Cell phones have brought several changes to society but not all of them are positive. As time progresses, there is a need for social scientists to identify and seek solutions to the negative effects of cell phones on social interaction. Too much cell phone usage is a perennial threat to effective face-to-face interactions. Furthermore, cell phones are undermining the institution of relationships by trivializing important unions. Consequently, there is a need for individuals and society at large to reconsider their relationships with cell phones.

Works Cited

Aoki, Kumiko, and Edward Downes. “An analysis of young people’s use of and attitudes toward cell phones.” Telematics and Informatics 20.4 (2003): 349-364. Print.

Humphreys, Lee. “Cellphones in public: social interactions in a wireless era.” New media & society 7.6 (2005): 810-833. Print.

Reid, Donna J., and Fraser Hall. “Text or talk? Social anxiety, loneliness, and divergent preferences for cell phone use.” CyberPsychology & Behavior 10.3 (2007): 424-435. Print.

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