Are Smartphones Distracting and Addictive? - Essay Example

Published: 2021-08-16 05:48:20
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University of California, Santa Barbara
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A smartphone is one of the greatest inventions of the humankind, and it has become part and parcel of its survival in the 21st century. Smartphones combine sophisticated features that allow its users to store pictures, personal information, memories, correspondences, health and financial data in one place. It is also through a part of the modern telecommunication (Sarwar & Soomro, 2013). In some countries, it is the most reliable available option for communication. However, with the arrival of these devices, so did the concept of destruction and phone addiction. The growing number of more sophisticated and affordable smartphones has raised concerns regarding its effect on human health and also the quality of life (Sarwar & Soomro, 2013). A minority of the world population have very little knowledge regarding the side effects of a smartphone, and it is worrying that humans become slaves to these hand devices. In this paper, we shall discuss on why smartphones are destructive and addictive.

Today, more than 90% of Americans adults have a cell phone, and among the people under the age of 44 years, it reaches about 97%. Addiction is explained as entities that are capable of stimulating an individual, and according to psychological and psychiatric views, whenever a habit changes into an obligation, it is considered an addiction (Jones, 2014). According to an experiment conducted by Department of Internal Medicine, behavioral addictions for instance internet addiction is similar to drug addiction except the fact that the former, is brought about by a relevant action. According to an article Can, Excessive Cellphone Use Become an Addiction, published in U.S. News & World Report (Jones, 2014). Mozes states that the way people treat and also interact with the devices such as smartphones is impulsive and uncontrollable. Although there are many benefits of owning a smartphone, when people go overboard with its use, it becomes a problem. The factors such as materialism and impulsiveness play a crucial role in turning smartphone use into an addiction (Jones, 2014).

A study conducted by Emanuel et al., in (2015) on the truth about smartphones aimed at establishing smartphone dependency among 404 undergraduate students in a public university. One in every five rated themselves as entirely dependent on their smartphones, and half of these participants agreed that they were overly reliant on their smartphones (Emanuel et al., 2015). More females than males reported being safe with their phone than without it and more than half of their freshmen years reported that their phones helped them escape from problems as well as reliving bad moods. A majority of the students, however, disagreed being distracted during their phone use (Emanuel et al., 2015). Therefore it can be established through this study that a majority of people are addicted to the content, and the personal connections that are delivered by a smartphone, and it is crucial to understand that people will continue at great lengths to connect with others.

A Stanford study revealed that distracted parenting could damage the ability of children to develop emotional and social needs. The investigation revealed that people who juggled different sources of electronic information do not focus as well, compared to people who do individual tasks at a time (Sarwar & Soomro, 2013). Smartphone use has distracted a majority of people from being better performers as parents as employees and even as bosses. This is because, smartphone use, not only damages concentration span, but it also wastes a significant amount of time. The reduced productivity that is associated with smartphone use could be the reason why a majority of companies have laid down policies that limit the use of smartphones during working hours unless it is necessary (Sarwar & Soomro, 2013). Smartphone use also goes against the code of ethics that has been set up by companies to curb sharing of sensitive company information to the public.

Morrill in this study explains that the issues that surround the adolescence regarding their ability to solve problems, trust, self-esteem and positive affirmation are due to cell-phone use. A majority of young adults feel a sense of entitlement and status with a smartphone (Jones, 2014). One of the biggest surprises especially in the growth of technology is the worldwide acceptance of smartphone use among the youth. In the United States, the young people are the primary uses of smartphones, and the value and the meaning of a cell phone carry a robust social implication for an adolescent within their peer groups (Jones, 2014). Morrill explains constant connection and destruction, amount of time spend on voice-to-voice communication as well as messaging; social media interactions impact the psychosocial development during the most critical period of their life. Adolescence has continuously been distracted by smartphones that they do not realize what they miss in their surrounding environment not only in school but at home and the community (Jones, 2014). The social media has created a virtual reality for them, and they fail to notice the valuable physical existence of individuals such as friends and family who play an integral role in their social, cognitive, cultural, and physical development (Thornton et al., 2014).

Smartphones have also been a constant destruction by ruining the ability of someone to be in the present, because of the need to be constantly entertained and informed. This leads people to lack focus and connection with essential things that matter for instance spiritual life, family, and friends (Sarwar & Soomro, 2013). People have neglected the vitality of the emotional and mental growth that can be achieved through reading, reflecting and meditating. The lack of these vital elements reduces ones productivity and the ability to concentrate fully on their day to day tasks (Sarwar & Soomro, 2013). It is also crucial to note that with smartphones, they fail to appreciate the importance of face-to-face communication, thus leading to broken social ties not only in the community but also family. One of the advantages of cell phones has been the ability to expand peoples connections and enhance relationships with friends and family. However, in social situations, people may often disengage with the present company to attend, either in thought or action to other people and events in the cyberspace (Thornton, Faires, Robbins & Rollins, 2014).

The other form of destruction is dangerous, and it is associated with driving and walking. Multitasking with smartphones have obvious consequences such as inattentional blindness, increased accidents that are related to distracted driving as well as personal injuries that result from destruction during texting (Thornton et al., 2014). With regards to driving, the performance deficits are not reduced with more experience, and it is evident that even with the use of hands-free cell phones or voice-to-text capability. Studies indicate that smartphone use results to diminished situational awareness, and it increases behaviors that are unsafe, increases the chances of causing an accident, injuries or even death (Thornton et al., 2014). Distracted learning is also evident in schools that are associated with texting or conversing, and ringing of cell phones during lessons. Even though learning may not be affected in the process, other undesirable costs are prominent for instance delayed concentration and ability to complete tasks (Thornton et al., 2014).

In conclusion, smartphones remain addictive and destructive in our day to day life as humans. It is regardless it benefits such as the ability to connect with family and friends, conduct business, and obtain valuable information, its disadvantages are haunting us every day. Smartphones will remain part and parcel of this generation, but it is upon us humans to recognize that virtual reality may look entertaining, but there is need to appreciate the people around us, and refrain from being slaves of smartphone technologies that have deprived us of our purpose and humanity.


Emanuel, R., Bell, R., Cotton, C., Craig, J., Drummond, D., Gibson, S., ... & Lewis, J. (2015). The Truth about Smartphone Addiction. College Student Journal, 49(2), 291-299.

Jones, T. (2014). Students Cell Phone Addiction and Their Opinions. Elon J Undergrad Res Commun, 5, 74-80.

Sarwar, M., & Soomro, T. R. (2013). Impact of Smartphones on Society. European Journal of Scientific Research, 98(2), 216-226.

Thornton, B., Faires, A., Robbins, M., & Rollins, E. (2014). The Mere Presence of a Cell Phone May be Distracting. Social Psychology.

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