Topic 29: Smartphones are dehumanising us

Smart phones are dehumanizing us. It is no secret that the world is passionate about technology, but are we losing out on real human contact? Do we now rely too much on a small hand held device to communicate to our family and friends? Are we abandoning the real people networks around us so we can be ‘Gods’ controlling our own universe at just a touch of a finger?

There was a survey conducted which involved 12,000 people aged 18 years and older, in 8 countries: Brazil, china, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan and the United States in July 28 to August 15th. Older woman are most excited about technology. While 90% said technology makes their life easier and 60% said they rely on it too much and that it is dehumanizing. We know that phones are reducing our real live contact but we don’t seem to care. According to this study most young adults believe that technology is dehumanizing us, we use technology so we don’t have to talk to people, avoid personal contact, and use it so we don’t even need to leave home to talk to our friends or family.

The ventral tegmental area of the brain provides us with a big dose of dopamine every time we receive a text message, phone call or notification. Even when you don’t have your phone near you it is still tugging on your brain to go and get it and check for new messages or missed calls. You are rewarding yourself for checking your phone. You are rewarding yourself for worrying more about your cyber world than about the real word that is all around you and the people who are willing to have a proper conversation.

According to psychologist Daniel J. Levtin, “being in a situation where you are trying to concentrate on a task, and an email is sitting unread in your inbox, can reduce your effective IQ by up to 10 points” If you are at work and you have a text message waiting to be read what would you rather do, read the text or do your work? You are getting distracted by your phone. Teens who bring their phones to school and have them in their pockets are more likely to focus on their phones and not the task at hand, therefore reducing the quality of their work.

In recent years modern humans attention spans  have changed to just over 8 seconds, that is less than a goldfish. We have less of an attention span because of the rewiring in our brains due to our phones. We have less of an attention span to talk and do real life activities because of our phones that are consistently in our hands.

Many people can’t even tuck their phones away for a few minutes while they cross the road, while their plane is taking off, in a bus or in a museum and even driving or out for tea. Smart phone engagement can be dangerous…if not deadly. Alexander Heit, 22, died in April 3, 2013 after he was distracted texting on his phone. Cars are dangerous we all know that, but we are still willing to risk it just to check Facebook, reply to a text or check for miss calls. Are we losing our care about real human lives?

Smart phones are just as addictive as narcotics. Many feel the need to check their phone every few seconds even though we know that we don’t have any text messages or calls. Due to phones we now have new phobias and illnesses all because of your cell phone.

Many young adults today believe that phones are indeed dehumanizing us. We are acting less like humans and more like machines. We think we have better control over our lives because we have that phone in our pocket but the truth it is keeping us from real human contact. Phones keep us from face to face, personal contact that we use to cherish and think was important, now we would rather check our Facebook or text. Why don’t you talk to the people who are in front of you? Put down your phone at the dinner table? When you are doing something important try not to jump to the phone when it rings, finish the task you are doing first. Why don’t you try to leave your phone out of your bedroom when you are sleeping and not having it turned on when you go out for meals? Phones are helpful but they are dehumanizing us.

“A typical smart phone has more computing power than Apollo 11 when it landed a man on the moon”-Nancy Gibbs



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