Thursday, October 21, 2021
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Is Your Smart Phone Actually Making You Smart?

Starting our days by checking emails to ending the night after scrolling through the Instagram feed, smartphones have indeed become a crucial part of our lives. However, the constant need to check our mobile phones and surf the internet has more disadvantages if one uses mobile phone technology in a dumb way. The issue of smartphone addiction is more concerning today among different age groups.

Statistics show that around 57% of smartphone users in the US have doubled their screen time ever since the pandemic hit. In particular, teens spend more than 4 hours on electronic devices per day.

If you are not a social butterfly, there are possible chances you have a smartphone addiction for every single thing. Plus, with the improved living standard, carrying a smartphone that suits our lifestyle is more like a status symbol now.

Although smartphones are getting technologically advanced and affordable to humans, they also depend on them.

Smartphone addictions are not uncommon. For example, you may find yourself getting a mini heart attack when you don’t see your mobile for a split second.

Knowing the downsides that come with it will help you identify and break the bad habit of using smartphones mindlessly when such a thing happens.

Is Your Smartphone Technology Making You Dumber?

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Here is how your smartphone is making you less intelligent day by day.

1. Technology Makes Us Dumb By Weakening Memory Power

Smartphone addiction can lead to “Digital Amnesia.” This is a term given explicitly by psychologists, which means the brain’s inability to retain memory. With everything saved on our smartphones, it is natural to do away with storing anything in our long-term memory.

From phone numbers, meetings, birthdays to about anything under the sun, we store every little detail in our phone memory instead of recalling it later by using the human brain’s power.

According to a study, even a five-minute mobile phone usage can significantly affect the human brain’s memory function. Hence, prolonged smartphone usage can visibly lower your working memory performance in the long run.

2. Technology Makes Us Dumb By lowering Our Ability To Calculate

Long gone are the days when we could easily ace the mental mathematics exams.  These days, even for the simplest of calculations, we find ourselves flipping our phones out instead of trying to calculate it in our head.

Ever seen a group of friends quickly take out their smartphones as soon as the bill arrives to calculate who owes how much? That’s how our obsession with smartphone technology making us dumb even while carrying out the simplest of tasks like calculating the bill amount.

3. Creates Social Anxiety

Living life with smartphone obsession also leads to social anxiety, especially among young peers.

A study was carried out among 367 students in a university in Istanbul. It was found that students who had access to smartphones at an early age and actively used social media were more prone to social media addiction and social phobia.

With everything being available on our phones, many of us find it extremely difficult to communicate in person. For example, many of us prefer a text message to have an actual face-to-face conversation.

Even in social gatherings, it is a common sight to notice your friends being glued to their phones instead of socializing with others. This also hampers our love lives and friendships.

4. The Selfie Syndrome

Do you have an addiction to clicking selfies on your smartphone? Well, if you are, be aware as there’s a term established explicitly for the habit of clicking selfies, i.e., Selfitis.

While many of us religiously click pictures of everything in sight and post them on social media, the narcissism of selfie addicts is more dangerous.

In fact, a study published in the International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction cited that “selfitis”(the obsessive taking of selfies) is prominently linked to narcissism and being disrespectful towards other people.

It is also believed that this kind of self-absorption is degrading to our brain functioning in the distant future.

5. Inability To Complete Regular Human Tasks

Ever thought about how dumb it is to not complete regular tasks without relying on smartphone technology?

Just consider the following events where it proves our dependency on smartphones.

  • Lost in the city? There is Google Map.
  • Need to converse in a language? Download an app for the same.
  • Too lazy to type a complete sentence? Use autocorrect.

Albeit helpful, these functions make a person even more dependent on their phones. Furthermore, it also makes an individual lazy to get out in the real world and learn from real-life experiences.

6. Digital Distractions

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This is no shocker that living with a smartphone causes digital distractions in life. It has become quite impossible to complete a task at one go without using our phones in between.

Furthermore, Dhofar University Oman’s study demonstrates that smartphone usage at the workplace can significantly lower all the organization’s overall productivity.

Consequently, everyone starts doing too many things at once without fully completing anything in time.

7. Technology Makes Us Lazy

Smartphone technology is not only making us dumber mentally but physically too. With everything available at the tip of our fingertips and the touch of a few buttons, we hardly have the motivation to get out there and figure out solutions to real-life problems.

Studies figured out living with smartphone addiction can negatively affect physical health. It diminishes physical activity like walking and elicits an increase in fat mass and fall in muscle mass linked with detrimental health issues.

Cultivating good sleeping habits as an adult and kids alike is especially vital as it impacts your wellbeing.

Well, see it for yourself.

We always prefer to shop for clothes online instead of visiting a real outlet. Nobody wants to get out since a simple call can fetch almost everything at our doorstep, leading to physical inactivity.

8. Unhealthy Habits

Another disadvantage of mobile phone addiction is it has made our health the last priority.

We sleep late at night, wake up late in the morning, and the first thing we do is reach out for our phone. We choose to spend countless hours on our mobile phones instead of stepping out of the house to breathe fresh air and indulge in physical exercise.

In fact, people are so addicted to their phones that they have to take them every time visiting the loo or washroom. All it does is gather harmful viruses and bacteria like E.coli that can make you severely sick.

On the other hand, smartphone usage is highly linked with children developing brain cancer, says a research study published in 2014.

9. Technology Makes Us Dumb With A Lack Of Creativity

Lastly, a lack of creativity is one of the main disadvantages of mobile phones. With low attention spans, distraction levels, and anxiety – our creativity also has decreased along with it.

As a result, it’s harder to develop fresh, innovative ideas and execute them successfully. People spend an infinite amount of time on social media, which cuts our time actually to think about important stuff.

Can Smartphone Technology Make You Smarter Instead Of Dumber On The Flip Side?

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Now that we have understood the downsides of using smartphones, let’s see the positive implications of smartphones not just on humans’ behavior but also on the human mind. Let’s dive in.

Contrary to the general opinion that smartphone technology makes us dumber and lazy, you would see how that ideology is untrue as we proceed.

1. Helps Us Stay Informed

Smartphones have made information accessible to us in a way that our brains process and retains them better.

For example, a particular individual keeps information better when presented pictorially or in the form of video. Smartphones provide easy access to that means, and as such, that individual becomes more intelligent.

Also, smartphones with their several apps help stay aware of the trends and even track a series of activities in different parts of the world. For example, weather, time zones, politics, and stocks.

The ease and access to so much information is the very way Gen-Z is regarded as an intelligent generation.

2. Boosts Non-Verbal Skills

Results of a study by Psychology Today claim that smartphones play a role in improving our society’s IQ. This improvement comes from relating with the information associated with smartphones and dealing with a smartphone’s complexities, one’s mental ability is said to increase.

These non-verbal skills include:

  • Problem solving
  • Critical thinking
  • Communication
  • Decision making

Our brain develops these skills as it breaks down the information it receives from smartphones.

3. E-learning Platforms Are On The Rise

It’s nothing new to hear that people are getting certified, taking tests, learning Mathematics, and even taking driving courses online.

Thanks to smartphones, e-learning platforms are at our fingertips. Additionally, smartphones for E-Learning technology equip the next generation with the proper knowledge to increase mental strength and diminishes dumb behavior.

A report by China Internet Network in 2016 says that about 60% of online education access their classes on smartphones. This certifies e-learning platforms are on a significant rise, especially during the Coronavirus pandemic.

The beauty of e-learning is not just the easy access to the information but also the convenience. One does not have to carry big books searching for knowledge as smartphones make it available at the touch of a screen.

Globally, e-learning grew from US$7.98 billion in 2015 to US37.6 billion in 2020. This shows that people are more inclined towards learning electronically.

4. Smartphones Take Advantage Of Common Knowledge Smarten Up

With various apps across different spheres available for use, inventors and developers integrate their knowledge to make life easier and better for people. These apps are life easier and help spread knowledge to make day-to-day decisions.

An average person uses nine apps every day and 30 apps a month.

There are apps available for smartphones for almost everything. Hence, smartphones help people make smart decisions by integrating apps that serve several functions.

5. Smartphones Help Track Life Events

There is so much our smartphones do for us that is quite underrated. Previously, we would have to see a doctor before we could access basic health checks. But now, checking your health vitals is a click away on your smartphone.

Not only that, you can make smart decisions about your health by speaking with a doctor using an app.

Therefore, integrating smartphones into our daily living is helping to:

  • spread knowledge
  • give easy access to firsthand information
  • make the learning process easier, convenient, and comfortable
  • enables track life events

Overall, we can make better and wiser decisions because of our smartphones.

Technology opens our minds up to endless possibilities, and it has come to stay. We need to embrace its potential and full use of it because it can make us more intelligent if we allow it.

But, How Young Is Too Young For Using A Phone?

Despite, all the disadvantages of using mobile phones, living without a smartphone is inevitable. Especially as it opens doors to social media, young adults from the age of 10 to 11 have access to a mobile phone with the internet.

But before you decide to hand over a smartphone to a kid or start using one yourself, here are some things to keep in mind.

  1. Is there a need for keeping in touch while at school?
  2. Can you have the self-control to not misuse the iPhone during class hours?
  3. Are you mature or responsible enough?
  4. Do you talk to strangers on social media?
  5. Do they understand the consequences of social media stalkers, i.e not sharing information with strangers over social media?

Read more on this subject here, at what age should a child get a cell phone?

Concluding Thoughts,

By nature, the human brain is very adaptable. It is effortless for the brain to pick up something as we see it, thereby clarifying that we probably do not require our smartphones for anything apart from making calls.

An addiction to something simply because they make us look better socially and increases our acceptance is the dumbest factor ever. We are far clever to be addicted to something as fleeting as a smartphone.

In what other ways is your smartphone making you dumb? Let us know in the comments section below. Share this article to enlighten your friends on how the overuse of smartphones is making us dumb.

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Key Takeaways On How Technology Is Making Us Dumber

  • Smartphone addiction consumes most of our daily life.
  • Since the lockdown happened, 57% of smartphone users in the US have doubled their screen time.
  • This is highly concerning as smartphone addiction has severe consequences on mental and physical well-being.
  • Living with a smartphone addiction can lead to “Digital Amnesia,” which is associated with a decrease in the brain’s memory power.
  • Furthermore, it takes away our ability to carry out the simplest of calculations due to our phones’ reliance.
  • Smartphone addiction also leads to social anxiety among the young generation.
  • Also, mobile phone obsession gives rise to the “Selfie Syndrome” behavior, i.e., also known as Selfitis.
  • Digital distraction is one of the significant signs of addiction to smartphones and technology.
  • Usage of smartphones at the workplace lowers the overall productivity of the company.
  • Using mobile phones all day makes us lazy and succumb to unhealthy habits—for example, poor sleep patterns, less physical exercise, and waking up late in the morning.
  • Lastly, smartphones decrease our ability to create innovative ideas and execute them successfully.

What smartphone addiction does to your brain?

According to a study published in the Journal of Addictive Behaviors, smartphone addiction alters the grey matter of the human brain. Furthermore, it impacts the brain’s frontal lobe, responsible for reasoning, problem solving, memory, and language.

What are the benefits of living without a smartphone?

  • More family time.
  • It increases physical activity.
  • More time for meaningful hobbies.
  • Better sleep pattern.
  • Less distraction at work.
Nihar B
With a decade of experience as a woman in tech, Nihar has worked with a range of companies from Fortune 500 corporations such as IBM, Accenture, Ericsson to H&M Group. Her diverse work-life enables her to share her knowledge to develop, grow, and succeed both professionally and personally in today's ever-changing world.

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