How Do Smartphones Impact Your Health? Communications Skills, Emotional Development, Depression, Effect on Brain

Technology impacts many different aspects of our lives. Find out how smartphones are affecting your health and what you can do to lessen the repercussions.

Modern technology comes with many comforts and amenities, but it also has its downfalls. Since using technology has become the norm, its negative effects often go undiscussed. So, how do smartphones impact your health? And what can you do to decrease the problematic issues? Join us as we explore the darker side of our society’s need for automation and how it affects our well-being.

Communication Skills
From the start, technology has significantly altered our social interactions. It removes compelling non-verbal aspects of conversation; things like body language, tone, and facial expressions. While there are infinitely many ways to reach people via social networks and texting, imparting the right message to your audience has become challenging. The phone mediates most communication, causing a shift in our ability and desire to communicate with others face-to-face. It may seem innocuous enough, but Dr. James Roberts, a Marketing Professor at Baylor University, suggests that “when we lose our ability to relate to people, to empathize with people, we care less about those people.” Communication used to hinge upon the human connection—now it places undue emphasis on machines rather than people.

Social and Emotional Growth
Excess use of smartphones (especially for children) impair social and emotional growth. Research demonstrates that children spend more time on electronic media than on other activities—approximately 7 hours a day. Exorbitant exposure to electronics has been linked to trouble focusing, making decisions, and impaired cognitive and emotional control.

Since an adult’s brain is fully developed, they feel the effects of technology differently—but the evidence against it is still alarming. Too much screen time has been linked to depression in people who spent 6 or more hours a day watching television or playing computer games. The bright light from technology screens can also disrupt sleep cycles and makes it harder to retain information gathered via the Internet.

Rehabilitation
Is there any hope for us? Will the ever-tightening grip on iPads and razor-thin laptops ever loosen? There are some researchers that are optimistic about these changes in our society. Technology does have its downfalls, yes, but some researchers argue that we can use it for good. Director of Microsoft Research Center for Social Natural User Interface, Frank Vetere, is developing an approach to technology that incorporates interactive mechanisms and human interfaces. While still in its early stages, Vetere offers hope that we can combat the adverse consequences of smartphones and smart tech while still enjoying its benefits.

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