With constant calling, texting, listening to music, and even navigating, cell phones have become an inseparable part of people’s everyday lives. The tools that were initially invented for distant communication soon evolved into an entertainment source with multiple functions. Communication has been greatly enhanced with numerous apps and social media networks. However, with that rapid development of technology, the effects on society do not go unnoticed. With the help of cell phones, staying connected has become easier for people, and there is no longer a need to go out to ask a question, talk, or spend time together. All one needs to do is dial a friend’s number. Research shows that about 4.5 billion people worldwide use cell phones (Goswami and Singh 69). The inevitable impacts of such a widely-used device on the social behavior of groups or individuals are cell phone addiction, poor academic and work performance, and increased distracted driving.
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With such a rise in the popularity of smartphones, the issue of addiction arose among the users. It is typical nowadays to spend hours staring into a bright blue screen. This issue prevails mostly among adolescents, as they are more inclined to give in to social change in trends as a result of their not yet developed brain. Excessive time spent with the device indicates possible addiction. According to research held among adolescents, if a cell phone is unavailable to certain individuals, they become irritated and anxious, which might be a signal of addiction (Goswami and Singh 70). As a result of the invention of smartphones, a massive part of society started abusing their privilege of contact and took cell phone usage to an extreme extent where they can no longer give it up for an extended period. By spending more time on their phones, people sacrificed their face-to-face time with friends, family, and other agents of socialization. Therefore, such a lifestyle creates a form of isolation for smartphone users.
Moreover, smartphones impact the quality of physical socialization among people. According to Misra et al., “people who had conversations in the absence of mobile devices reported higher levels of empathetic concern. Participants conversing in the presence of a mobile device, which also had a close relationship with each other, reported lower levels of empathy compared with dyads who were less friendly with each other” (275). This addiction distracts people from the real-life conversation and makes it almost of no too little importance or secondary. Thus, the presence of smartphones appears to worsen the quality of social interaction.
One of the other adverse effects that excessive smartphone usage has is poor work and academic performance. As mentioned above, phone addiction causes some individuals to spend a long time going through their phones. As a result, these people get distracted by their phones and are no longer focused on their work or academic task. As research shows, excessive smartphone usage causes certain mental symptoms including anxiety, insomnia, decreased concentration, and poor academic performance (Goswami and Singh 71). Moreover, due to smartphone addiction, students and employees tend to postpone their responsibilities. This creates a situation where they may have to sacrifice their sleeping hours to get the job done. However, being sleep deprived worsens their performance by far and causes them to be inattentive in their work or academic environment, be it to their boss or professor.
Another effect cell phones have had on public behavior is an increase in distracted driving. While rushing to work or an appointment or sitting in the car in traffic, the ringing telephone often tempts people to respond to the urging sound automatically. Talking on the phone while driving is classified as distracted driving and is extremely dangerous. According to Engelberg, Jessa K., et al., “distracted driving (DD), particularly cell phone use (texting or speaking), is associated with 26% of all crashes and is increasing in frequency” (434). As cell phone usage increases, it causes people to respond to calls and messages, and as a result, take their eyes off the road and be inattentive. This situation creates a danger not only for the driver but also for pedestrians and other drivers. Distracted driving is a significant public health challenge in which smartphone usage plays a crucial role.
The effect of smartphones on public behavior includes but is not limited to phone addiction, poor academic and work performance, and the rise of distracted driving cases that involve phone use. These factors are interconnected with one another, as phone addiction is what causes excessive usage and, therefore, poor work and academic performance and, consequently, unnecessary distractions on the road. Those issues are manageable and controllable, and more people start recognizing them and try to find solutions or limit their screen time. As a result of technological development, many changes occurred in society. Cell phones started taking an important place in people’s everyday lives. Some individuals keep crucial information on their phones like banking information, passwords, reminders, alarms, photos, and videos. Mobile phones invaded modern society and became a vital part of it. However, it is each individual’s responsibility to understand the boundaries and stay civil, as to not let smartphones negatively impact their lives.
Engelberg, Jessa K., et al. “Distracted Driving Behaviors Related to Cell Phone Use among Middle-Aged Adults.” Journal of Transport & Health, vol. 2, no. 3, 2015, pp. 434–440. Web.
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Goswami, Vandana, and Divya Rani Singh. “Impact of Mobile Phone Addiction on Adolescent’s Life: A Literature Review.” International Journal of Home Science 2.1 (2016): 69-74.
Misra, Shalini, et al. “The IPhone Effect: The Quality of In-Person Social Interactions in the Presence of Mobile Devices.” Environment and Behavior, vol. 48, no. 2, 2016, pp. 275–298. Web.