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Smartphones, one of the most versatile and resourceful tools known to this generation, enabling you to deepen your understanding with the world around us and staying social with others. Although this may seem like a helpful and interactive tool, the addiction of smartphones does negatively affect your life in the long term, whether it being socially or mentally.
First of all, let’s go over some statistics: Of the 7 billion people on earth, roughly 6 billion own a cell phone which is shocking because only 4. 5 billion people have access to a working toilet. So how are these gadgets impacting your body and brain? When you are looking down at your phone, your spine angle is equivalent to that of having an 8-year-old child sitting on the back of your neck which is significant considering the average time you spend on your cell phone every day is 4. 7 hours. This combined with the amount of time spent in front of a computer has caused an increase in Myopia, which is another word for nearsightedness. In North America, only one-quarter of the population in 1970 was affected by Myopia but presently, more than half are affected but what is the mental harm you might ask. Take for example the app Instagram, every time we get a like on a picture, our brain gets awarded with little bursts of dopamine, which technically means addictive gratification, and eventually, you’re rewarded in the app with new content such as more likes, comments, and followers. This novelty creates something known as a compulsion loop which just happens to be the same loop responsible for the behaviours caused by nicotine and cocaine.
Now that I have gone over the harm cellphones have on your body and brain, let’s go over the impact of cell phones on social interaction. Did you know that 93% of students with ages ranging from 13-21 report using their smartphones as a source to avoid boredom rather than engaging with people around them or simply reading a book. This concept has led to a new term called Nomophobia; the fear or anxiety of being without your phone. Many students use their phones as a source to converse with others through texting which has become a huge communication issue since many students seem to think it is the only way to engage in conversations rather than actual face-to-face interactions. A 2012 study found that the presence of a mobile device can make people have a negative impression on us. In the experiment, they paired conversational partners and had them discuss recent events for 10 minutes. Half of the pairs had a cell phone visible, and half had no phone. The people with phones were seen as less relatable and more negative than people without them.
Finally, the last major reason a smartphone can impact a student’s life is that it has a huge academic effect. When students are studying, whether at school or home, their phone is always around them which creates a big distraction and can lead to academic failure since students seem to spend more time on social media rather than studying. Also, students always tend to bring their phone to bed before they sleep as a way to pass time but they really don’t think about what negative effects this might have on them. Your cell phone screen emits a blue light which has shown to alter circadian rhythms, which is a 24-hour internal clock that controls your sleep/wake cycle. This alteration not only impacts your health by causing an increased chance of diabetes, cancer, and obesity, but studies have shown that it makes you harder to fall asleep which makes it difficult for students to stay awake during class and performing well academically.
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