The Smartphone Era

The Smartphone Era


Cell phones have come a long way. We officially live in a digital age and it is only getting more advanced with time. The new iPhone costs $749 and is packed with amazing features, which is a big leap compared to the old flip phone days. This brings some good, bad and ugly events that follow the smartphone trend. Although smartphones access easier communication, organization, and large amounts of information, it has also made us isolated, impatient, and has created an easier lane for bullies to torment their victims.

Most of us are more connected to friends and family than ever before. We have Twitter, Facebook, Skype, Instagram, and many more applications to stay connected with everyone. The downside to this is that it isolates us. You can stay up to date with multiple people, in different continents, remaining miles away from them while doing it. I am guilty of doing that myself. School and work make it hard to spend a lot of time with friends and family. In “No Need To Call” Sherry Turkle argues, “Among friends, phone calls are infrequent, and she says, “Face-to-face conversations happen way less than they did before. It’s always, ‘Oh, talk to you online” (379). Life is always keeping us busy. Talking to loved ones online is more convenient and allows you to talk to many people at one time.

We are ultimately disconnected from each other because we are over connected. We used to thrive on face to face interaction. Today it is easier to log in on Facebook and chat or look on someone’s time line. Even the things someone likes on these applications will show up on your page. It gives you an intimate idea of what another person’s state of mind is in at the time. I often rely on these online options to stay connected with others. At the end of the day, it is just easier. For Example “Today’s students are the most technologically connected in history. Technology is shaping modern relationships: with others, with ourselves, with it. Students are increasingly connected to the world, but alarmingly disconnected from themselves. Conversation is being sacrificed for connection, compromising the capacity for self-reflection. In her TED talk, “Connected but alone?” psychologist Sherry Turkle states that “technology helps us feel connected in ways we can control; it provides the illusion of companionship without the demands of friendship. People are increasingly connected, yet increasingly lonely“(Richard et al). I find that most of my friends who participate in posting things online are by themselves a lot of the time. We tend to feel that being online is a replacement for being active in the outside world, There is no way to mimic human interaction and experience another persons energy unless they are with you in the flesh. It is hard to understand a conversation if you cannot see the persons facial expressions and feel the vibe that they are giving you.

Smartphones are getting faster and faster, the effect of that is our patience getting smaller. I am so used to getting things fast through technology that it leaks over into the real world. No one wants to wait on anything anymore. We are able to stay more organized with calendar apps and reminders with fun sound alerts, but no one would take advantage of these organization assets if they did not perform quickly enough. That is probably why my generation is called the popcorn generation. We want everything quick and accurate because that is what technology can provide. In “No Need To Call” Sherry Turkle states, “Now that there is E-Mail, people expect that a call will be more complicated. Not about facts. A fuller thing. People expect it to take time-or else you wouldn’t have called” (375). I get irritated about waiting for anything information related because I can easily Google it and receive instant gratification. That is probably why I used to prefer a text message over a phone call. “Today’s college students increasingly desire and even demand the instant and the immediate. Once a virtue, patience is becoming as rare as handwritten letters. For example Google found that slowing search results by just 0.4 seconds would reduce the number of searches by eight million per day. One in four people abandon a web page that takes more than four seconds to load. Half of mobile users abandon a page if it does not load in 10 seconds. Alvaro Retana, a distinguished technologist with Hewlett-Packard, stated: “The short attention spans resulting from the quick interactions will be detrimental to focusing on the harder problems”. Analysts expect that constantly connected students will thirst for instant gratification and will often make quick, shallow choices” (Richard et al). I cannot wait for slow internet pages, it causes me to have anxiety. It seems like a small issue, but many would be surprised at the reaction these kind of issues will bring out of a person. I have seen my own friend get stressed and be angry because his YouTube application on his tablet will not load quickly. We get so used to quick results and we expect instant gratification every single time we interact with Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and many other popular applications.

Smartphones have become essential to a lot of homework and projects. I complete a lot of essays faster because I can research every topic I need any information about. “A requirement for student success in the 21st century, the Internet is a necessary tool for researching and gathering resources for the completion of school assignments. The prevalence of available technologies and the pervasiveness of Internet use are steadily growing. Preteenagers and adolescents increasingly use these technologies to send text messages and participate in social networks” (Myers et al).
It is this same way of receiving information quickly that is being used as ammunition for cyber bullies. In “No Need To Call” Sherry Turkle states, “At the screen, you have a chance to write yourself into the person you want to be and to imagine others as you wish them to be, constructing them for your purposes. It is a seductive but dangerous habit of mind” (374). Tormenting someone online and distributing hurtful information about someone is more effective and easier than doing it in person because everything done online leaves behind a digital trail. “For example, denigrating and polling significantly affected one 15-year-old student’s life. The child privately filmed himself dancing around his bedroom portraying a Star Wars character wielding a pretend light saber. Inadvertently the child left his videotape at school, where other students uploaded it online and invited viewers to make insulting remarks about the clip. The popularity of the two-minute Star Wars Kid video resulted in over 15 million hits and over 106 clone video productions. The vicious comments resulting from the dissemination were so mortifying that the child dropped out of school and finished the semester in a children’s psychiatric ward. According to the statement of charges in the lawsuit that was filed, the teenager claimed that the fallout from the posting “was simply unbearable, totally. It was impossible to attend class” (Myers et al). It is not acceptable for someone to be put down and run out of school. The ease and convenience of these smartphones are to blame for cyberbullying. There are many kids who go through this and worse. Cyber bullying is a major issue and it leads to suicide and depression. Most cyberbully victims will never be the same again.

Cell phones users have a long way to go, before we conquer the issues that smartphones are causing. With awareness of the negatives that smartphones bring, we can have a better and more efficient future for our youth. Educating our youth about cyber bulling and spending more time outdoors can be a great benefit. I think education about cyberbullied victims who have committed suicide should be a part of Elementary, Middle School, High school and College curriculum. The school system is usually the root of where student bullying begins. Smartphones can be a great asset to humanity, but it all depends on what we choose to do with the technology.

Work Cited

“The Truth About Smartphone Addiction.” College Student Journal. Web. Summer 2015. 10 October 2015.

“Responding to Cyber Bullying: An Action Tool for School Leaders.” Ebsco Host. Web. Summer 2015. 10 October 2015.

Graff, Gerald, Cathy Birkenstien and Russel Durst. They Say I Say. New York and London: Norton, 2015. Print.

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