Are Smartphones Trashing Our Lives?

Hello everyone! Since school has started up again and I’ve finished my first week of the semester, I wanted to share something quite interesting with you all that we’ve been discussing in my Art Seminar class. During this class, we will be taking multiple trips to Los Angeles to visit some museums and galleries while learning the ins and outs of contemporary art. Not only that, our professor has had us dive into topics that not only affect the art world, but every single human being individually. The first idea we’ve been reading about is how smartphones are affect our lives. Are they assisting us in our everyday tasks like they were assigned to do? Or are they slowly taking over our society and setting limits to our intellectual capabilities? Keep reading to hear my take on things!

The Smartphone Experiment

To start off this conversation, my professor had us read a short article from October 6, 2017 by Nicholas Carr entitled “How Smartphones Hijack Our Minds.” I will link the PDF here (WSJ Smartphones) if any of you are interested in reading the entirety of the article.  Basically an experiment was conducted with three separate groups. Each group was given an assignment, however the major differences between each group was where their phones were located. In Group 1, their phones were places right in front of them. For Group 2, phones were kept in backpacks or purses beside them. In Group 3, phones were left in a completely separate room while they worked on the assignment.

The results were in! Interestingly, Group 3 had the highest scores and Group 1 had the lowest scores. How crazy is that?? The phones simply sitting in front of Group 1 caused a distraction (even if they weren’t turned on) and made them not perform well. We aren’t even aware of the control that smartphones have over our minds. All day we are subconsciously waiting for something to pop up on that screen or to hear that PING or feel that vibration. We can all admit that we pull out our phones countless times everyday, and its definitely become a habit, almost involuntary.

I’ll Just Look It Up Later

Let me see a show of hands (or comments) for whoever has said this statement before. “I don’t need to know that now, I’ll just Google it when I really need to” or something along those lines. Smartphones and specifically search engines like Google have made it increasingly more easy to find an answer to any question we have. They were built to help us with problem solving and designed so that we need (and want) them everyday of our lives. How has that affected our minds though? The truth is since we don’t have a need to memorize or remember any of the information we search, our brains don’t truly take in any of that information. We subconsciously know all the answers are sitting in our phones or our laptops, so what’s the need to retain any of it? We let the phones remember for us. In one section of the article posted above Carr states, “As strange as it might seem, people’s knowledge and understanding may actually dwindle as gadgets grant them easier access to online data stores.” Unfortunately, there are effects to this lessening of understanding for our brains. Carr also mentions, “Only by encoding information in our biological memory can we weave the rich intellectual associations that form the essence of personal knowledge and give rise to critical and conceptual thinking.” 

What You Can Do

Alright so I know I just threw a lot of information at you in some giant paragraphs. But stay with me here. You don’t have to fall into the hole that is the technological takeover. I won’t dismiss the fact that smartphones, tablets, and desktops are simply a part of our world now and are necessary for business, profit, and staying connected to those we love. There is absolutely no way a person could cut out technology and not struggle a bit. However, this article and this discussion has made me review my own relationship with my phone and computer lately.

I am totally one of those people that constantly has my phone on me and checking it way more than I should. I love social media, it honestly does intrigue me, especially the business aspects of it. But when it becomes a nuisance is when you are spending time with friends or right before bed. I personally have been making an effort to not look at my phone before I sleep; I’ve been trying instead to read a book or write in my journal. It’s small changes like this that will lead to a better sleep and an overall higher quality of life in my opinion. Slowly cutting out times where you truly don’t need your phone and replacing it with YOU time or giving yourself moments to check your mental health is extremely important.

As for computers, obviously I am completely attached to mine because of this blog. My blog is something I’m extremely passionate about and is my way to stay connected to you guys. Not to mention, my entire graphic design major is dependent on my Mac. I literally could not earn my degree without this keyboard and mousepad. So again, I will try to make an effort to stay off my computer (specifically YouTube) as much as possible, since I’m already using it so much for my designs. Alright, I think I’ll cut this post here. Let me know what you think of this topic, I personally find it so interesting! If we could start a conversation about this in the comments, that would be so awesome! Talk to you all soon!

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  1. January 14, 2018 / 11:37 am

    This post really opens my eyes, I need to spend less time on my phone (I say this as it is sat right next to me) xx

    • January 14, 2018 / 1:23 pm

      hahaha girl its okay my phone was present while i was writing this post, lol. can’t escape but I’m trying!

    • January 14, 2018 / 1:23 pm

      thanks so much!

  2. January 14, 2018 / 1:26 pm

    It’s tough to break away from everything. My blog, my business, pretty much my life is based through my phone. When on vacation, I am less using it though as I want to experience where I am and not be looking down at a screen.

    • January 14, 2018 / 1:47 pm

      it’s definitely a great idea to put away the phone when on a vacation. taking in every moment wholeheartedly is so important!

  3. January 14, 2018 / 1:30 pm

    I definitely agree with Smartphones taking over our lives. I hate to admit I’m constantly looking at my phone, even when I’m not talking to anyone. Right before bed is something I’m guilty of – I’ll go through social media and whatnot for a half hour before closing my eyes. I really do need to start watching how actively I use my phone, and cut back, at least before bed, on using it.

    • January 14, 2018 / 1:48 pm

      it’s so crazy how often we look at our phones without even knowing it. it’s become so automatic for me but i’ve really been enjoying cutting back at nighttime. definitely try it out!😊

      • January 14, 2018 / 2:18 pm

        It really is! It’s automatic for me, too. I constantly have my phone with me. I’ll have to try it out (:

  4. January 14, 2018 / 3:56 pm

    I really enjoyed your post…I work with young people and I know their experiences mirror yours…I’m not from a generation raised on/with technology, but, even though I’m pretty much a technophobe–and clueless about all but the most basic social media platforms (email, Facebook, and WordPress), I get how people can be lured by the instant gratification and sense they’re missing out on something if not on line…I am pulling for you given your plan to unplug to a certain extent…that’s what growth is all about…going beyond your comfort zone. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • January 14, 2018 / 4:00 pm

      thanks for this awesome comment! that’s another aspect of being addicted to technology: instant gratification. it really does release hormones that make us feel happy. however dependency on that can lead to downfall in my opinion. thanks for stopping by!

  5. January 15, 2018 / 12:12 am

    I swear I read somewhere that when we receive comments and likes it triggers our brains the same way that drugs do by reward system.. or something like that. Also the blue light that’s used in ours phones can affect out eyes and keep you awake. I’ve actually turned mine off and it’s weird at first but I wouldn’t ever change it back.

    • January 15, 2018 / 11:48 am

      you’re absolutely right I’ve read that too. also there are apps that will change the light on your phone or computer when it starts to get dark. it makes it easier on your eyes but ultimately its healthier to shut it off altogether:)

  6. January 15, 2018 / 8:10 am

    I am so glad you are raising awareness on this topic. I think as a society we think less and less for ourselves. We have become completely dependent on systems and technology and so far from what’s natural and healthy. I agree social media, phones, and computers have a place but not so much so that they take away from life outside the screen. I use my phone and computer daily as I own a business that does a lot of online communicating and then the blog as well but living in the mountains the wifi often goes out and we haven’t had cable for over 4 years. I feel way more connected to myself and what’s happening around me and have a lot more space to develop my own thoughts and ideas. Plus instead of being told what’s going on in the world it’s allowed me to be of service and step outside and see for myself. I appreciate you opening up this dialogue, I love a good conversation. Hope you have a great day! X

    • January 15, 2018 / 8:59 am

      wow thanks you for this awesome comment! that’s so cool that you live in the mountains and can unplug so easily like that. i agree with going out and finding out information for yourself and contributing to the community. there’s a time and place for technology, but not if it consumes our entire existence

  7. January 15, 2018 / 11:42 am

    great post! i’m one of those few people who think this new technology plagues our everyday lives to a certain extent, of course. i do believe that they’re vital for many things and it’s nice to have access to everything at our fingertips. i do not like it however when people reach for their phone while you’re all hanging out together, like the intimacy of being surrounded by other people has made no difference to them whatsoever, it almost feels like people would rather be glued to their phone at all times. i’m guilty of being on my phone and on my laptop sometimes, but that’s only when i’m on blog and all that, but i do make it a thing to be without my phone several times a day. in fact, i almost want to unplug one day a week. 🙂
    but yeah, being away from any devices before bed will help you get better sleep, i know that for a fact because i’m one of those people who work on their blog late at night, when i’m done it’s surprisingly hard to fall asleep LOL

    • January 15, 2018 / 11:45 am

      i definitely agree with everything you said! i love the conversation everyone in the comments is having. it’s something that’s rarely talked about but when its brought up, people have so many insightful thoughts about it! thanks for stopping by my blog! xx

      • January 15, 2018 / 12:09 pm

        yeah, i think people don’t often think about it, but it’s still in the back of their minds. it’s important to bring all this information to our awareness to have real conversations about the pros and cons. 🙂 no problem, i hope you don’t mind me sharing this with my readers at the end of the month in my monthly review 🙂

        • January 16, 2018 / 9:16 pm

          i definitely feel the same. and of course! thanks so much for including me in your monthly review, that’s awesome! 🙂

  8. January 16, 2018 / 12:37 pm

    I think we are becoming obsessed with having our entire lives online through instagram and snapchat etc, sometimes its nice to step back and not think about technology x

    • January 16, 2018 / 9:15 pm

      i agree 100%! xx

  9. Yuliya
    January 17, 2018 / 8:03 am

    I think you just need to correctly prioritize. And then the phone will be needed only when you need it for its intended purpose.

    • January 17, 2018 / 11:02 am

      i agree. the only problem is my blog is one of my top priorities. so it gets difficult to get away from. my major as well requires technology to be constantly with me. i’m hoping though i can find times to set them aside and focus on something different😊

  10. March 20, 2018 / 9:51 pm

    So relevant and relatable to basically any young person (and many who aren’t) everything is based through technology these days so it does make it really tough

    • March 20, 2018 / 10:03 pm

      definitely true. its so tough because most of us need a break from technology but there’s no denying you have to keep updated with social media to run any kind of successful business lol

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