How dependant on your cellphone are you?
Earlier this year Pew Research Center released a fact sheet stating the vast majority of Americans own cellphones – about 95% of the population of the USA has at least one cellular device on hand, and in about 77% of the cases, it is a smartphone. The number of smartphone owners has risen by 32% in the last five years, and the growth is not giving any sign of slowing down – the percentage of smartphone ownership is projected to reach 82% by the end of the year.
In the past we used to say that there is a time for everything, now we say there is an app for everything. We can all admit it – we enjoy and depend on our connected devices. Smartphones are in place to ease our lives, but the more time we spend staring at the small screens, the more dependent we get.
There are a few main factors confirming smartphones are shaping our lives.
Having a smartphone is sometimes a necessity. Even if you do not own one yourself, it is very likely you’ve been given a smartphone device from work. Some health care professionals must be reachable at all the time. Salespeople would be available 24/7 too; no salesperson would be happy if a competitor picks up the lead instead. Even if you are not entirely convinced of their importance, smartphones are sometimes your primary connection to your employer, clients, or loved ones. Having one on hand is a necessity.
One of the main reasons smartphones are so popular is because they are meant to ease our lives. Not that long ago you had to call a travel agent to book a vacation, or you had to mail physical checks so you can pay your utility bills. Stopping at the bank for a quick credit balance check is now part of the past too. Now, everything you need is at your fingertips. You no longer have to wait for the newspaper boy so you can read yesterday’s news – they are readily available online right on your large screen phone. We bet you haven’t seen a physical map in years too; you use the navigation capabilities of your smartphone instead.
Undoubtedly smartphones are here to stay. The problem is that they are becoming so functionally diverse that people are starting to be addicted to them. Companies such as Facebook want to keep you engaged with their platform as long as possible. To keep your attention, they bombard you with content that they know you will enjoy seeing. Smartphones open a back door for gambling too – you no longer have to drive to Vegas or Atlantic City if you want to try your luck. While being entertained is excellent, you should always be careful to not end up in a bad place.
The fake reality
The world should not only be viewed through the prism of one small screen. Companies are fighting for your attention and sometimes exaggerate the facts to attract you. While they get richer by selling the traffic to advertising companies, it is possible you are not getting the whole picture. You should have multiple sources of information and carefully vet the information you receive. Not everything you see on your Facebook feed is true. Misinformation can have a negative impact on your life.
Sadly, smartphones are not only an easy way to get information and entertainment – they are sometimes a backdoor for hackers who want to sneak peek into your personal life. Having in mind the average American spends tens, and possibly hundreds, of hours on their smartphone device every month, the chances of having sensitive information stored on your phone is high. Unfortunately, hackers sometimes find their way into your mobile device. They could be after banking login information, delicate imagery, or your credit card details – whatever their goal is, they know their way in if you are not protected.
Agree or not, smartphone devices are here to stay and are already playing a significant part of our lives.
They allow us to connect with each other, they save us time, and they provide entertainment. While there are pros to having one, there are cons too – smartphones sometimes make people vulnerable to misinformation and hacker attacks. The good news is that people who are self-aware and have decent antivirus software installed have nothing to worry. Being protected will significantly decrease the chances of having your phone negatively shaping your life.