What are the negative effects of smartphones?
As we’ve been moved into a tech-era and this age has been called the “Information Age”. We’ve got a device that is usually the main source of our information related to various things in this information age i.e, Smartphone. There are many experts, corporations who have told the benefits of using smartphones. As a result, there are billions of users who use smartphones at the moment.
There are many benefits of this technology that can’t be denied, but as there’s a proverb “Excess of everything is bad” and today through many kinds of research and studies many scientists have shared the observation that people are using their smartphones excessively and it is on the verge of turning into an addiction.
There are multiple negative effects of smartphones. They affect us mentally, biologically, and psychologically. So what are the negative effects of smartphones that I’ve been referring to?
It is a question of interest for educators, parents, healthcare practitioners, mental health professionals and anyone who uses a smartphone on a daily basis. Our smartphones have become an inextricable part of our lives. But does this dependency on smartphones have any negative impact on our lives?
Negative Effects of Smartphones
1. Cognitive Distraction
It is a misconception which has been widespread that it is safe to talk on the smartphone while driving. It is a total misconception. Talking on the phone while driving leads to Cognitive Distraction: it takes your mind off the road, so even if you’re using a hands-free device that contains the features of voice-activated dialing and operation, your mind is still not on the road. Your brain and eyes perceive the surroundings when you’re talking on the cell phone while driving, but you don’t really see the environment. It greatly increases the risk of car accidents.
This also supports another study that states “Humans are bad at multi-tasking” as they can’t do two different tasks with perfection (Exceptions are always there). If you must talk to someone on a phone call while driving, pull over on the side of the road.
2. Negative Effects of Smartphones on the Brain
A recent study suggests that smartphone usage does indeed have a negative effect on the brain, although the long-term effects are yet to be seen.
In another study presented to the Radiological Society of North America, researchers observed that young people with a so-called smartphone and internet addition demonstrated imbalances in brain chemistry as compared to a control group.
Another study in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research found that cognitive capacity was reduced significantly whenever a smartphone was within reach, even when the phone is off.
Few experts suggest that all of this smartphone use can impair the children’s social and emotional development. It can interfere with our sleep patterns and it might even turn some people into lazy thinkers that we’ll see further in the upcoming points.
3. Your Smartphone Might Be Keeping You Up at Night
Bedtime use of your smartphone or tablet might be interfering with your sleep. It’s not because you’re staying up late to scroll through your Facebook feed, play a game, or to check your email. Instead, some sleep experts warn, it is the type of light emitted from your smartphone’s screen that might be disturbing your sleep cycle, even after you turn off your device.
In a study published in the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences, some adult participants were asked to either read printed books in dim lighting or read on an iPad for four hours each night before bedtime.
After five consecutive nights, both groups switched. What was discovered that those who had read on iPad before bedtime displayed a reduction in levels of melatonin, a hormone that keeps increasing throughout the evening and induces/promoted sleepiness? It took these participants more time to fall asleep, hence they experienced less REM sleep throughout the night which results in more difficult to concentrate and panicked behavior.
Reason? The type of blue light emitted by most smartphones. The cells at the back of your eyes contain a light-sensitive protein that picks up certain wavelengths of light. These light-sensitive cells then send signals to the brain’s “clock” that regulates the body’s circadian rhythms.
Normally, blue light peaks in the morning time, giving a signal to your body to wake up for the day. Red light increases in the evening, signaling, it is time to wind down and go to bed.
By interrupting the pre-designed natural cycle with the blue light emitted by your smartphones, the normal sleep-wake cycles are massively disturbed and hence, causes problems.
It is purely biological rather than psychological. If you get tempted to play with your smartphone on your bed, think about these negative effects, and consider picking up a paperback book instead.
4. Phone and Tablet Use Might Impair Social-Emotional Skills
According to research appearing in the journal Pediatrics, researchers from Boston University School of Medicine took a closer look at the available literature on smartphone and iPad usage among very young children. Usage of such devices to pacify or entertain children, they warned, might have a detrimental effect on their emotional and social development.
“If these devices become the predominant method to calm and distract young children, will they be able to develop their own internal mechanisms of self-regulation?” the researchers questioned.
That might be the reason the young children feel anxious and uncomfortable in the absence of their smartphones as their emotional dependency on their devices have been significantly increased. Which makes it easier for them to distract themselves whenever they feel bad and possibly, never even try to control or regulate their feelings.
Few experts suggest that “Hands-on activities and those involving direct human interaction are superior to interactive screen games (might be the reason that hands-on activities give more feelings of being in control, reality, or personal experience).
The use of smartphones becomes problematic especially when such tools replace hands-on activities that help to develop visual-motor and sensorimotor skills.
However, there are still many things unknown about how the usage of mobile devices influences child and its development.
There might be the possibility that over usage of smartphone and tablets might interfere with the development of problem-solving skills that are better acquired during unstructured/unorganized play with interaction with peers.
5. Smartphones Might Make Your Brain Lazy
Smartphones are just the cause of distraction nowadays. You no longer have to memorize phone numbers and other important dates, events, and appointments – you simply grab your phones and look for the phone’s contact list or the iPhone app or other apps to give you a reminder about important dates and events.
Instead of thinking and enquiring about the questions that you have about the world around you – you just open the Google and type your query.
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And some experts warn that this over-reliance on your smartphones/mobile devices for all the solutions might lead to mental laziness. One recent study showed that there is actually a link between relying on a smartphone and mental laziness. Mobile devices don’t necessarily turn a deep thinker into a lazy thinker, but it does suggest that people who are naturally intuitive thinkers – or those who act based on their instincts and emotions – tend to rely on their smartphones more frequently.
“The problem with relying on the Internet too much is that you can’t know you have the correct answer unless you think about it in an analytical or logical way,” explained Gordon Pennycook, one of the study’s co-authors.
“Our research provides support for an association between heavy smartphone use and lowered intelligence,” said Pennycook. “Whether smartphones actually decrease intelligence is still an open question that requires future research.”
Researchers warn that they’re just at the beginning stages of understanding the potential short-term and long-term negative effects of smartphones. There are still many things unknown about how smartphones affect our brain or its possible impact on our lives.
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There are other well-known negative effects of smartphones on our health like neck pain, increased blood pressure, and everyone knows how mobile radiation increases the dangers of heart deceases. There is an entire research paper that shows how smartphones affect us psychologically.
If you’re interested, then you can study it from the link given below and if you liked this article showing negative effects of smartphones to spread awareness about technology in this technological era, then do share with your friends who you might think must have a read as they overuse or overly-dependent on their smartphone.