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The Negative Impacts of Smartphones

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Do you think smoking kills? How about the negative impact of smartphones? Or are we being controlled by technology unknowingly? In the previous decade, technological development boomed in the area of telecommunications, especially in the area of mobile technology. Although smartphones have changed our lifestyle by bringing convenience and some positive alterations, its negative impact has adversely affected students’ academic performance, social interactions and self-regulation as well. In fact, the negative impact of smartphones exceeds its positive impact on a student’s life. First, the negative influence of smartphones is obvious in a student’s quality of education. This is especially so where language and accuracy in grammar is concerned. However, opponents of this claim, assert that, it is the use of innovative language for smartphone applications that helps improve the students’ writing skills and spelling accuracy.

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To a certain extent they are not wrong. The argument that they put forward is that the benefits of a few smartphone applications such as Puzzles, Crosswords and some proper-pronunciation apps, have indeed helped students in their pronunciation and enriched their vocabulary. On the other hand, the usage of ‘abbreviations in (SMS) or texting via smartphones has had grave influence on students’ grammar and their spelling efficiency (Kate Ross,2010). On top of this, the frequent use of smartphones has also distracted student’s attention in the class. Many of them are not able to get their hands off their mobiles.

A study by the (international journal and research on education, 2013) shows that 14% of students at one point or another, play games on their mobile during class lessons. However, some literature concludes that playing games in smartphones actually strengthen a student’s critical thinking. Even if this is true, the objective of our discussion is not whether the use of smartphones enhances a student’s critical thinking, but whether the use of smartphones distracts a student from his learning and thus affects his academic performance. Second, a smartphone can literally affect a student’s social interactions. “Several researchers identified social influence as a key construct that influences both usage intention and usage behavior, hence they play an important role in consumer adoption of new technology.” (Kulviwat, BrunerII, & Al-Shuridah, 2009; S. Lee,2013; Ting, Lim, Patanmacia,Low, & Ker,2011; Imtiaz, Arif, & Wajeeha, Aslam, 2014). As a result, smartphone users become independent, especially in the case of students where they no longer desire physical companionship. They spend most of their time on social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. They make friends and build relationships, but very much in a virtual world. Correspondingly, students may become disinterested in interacting with their instructors as well. They prefer communicating through a chat application, sending messages or just expressing likes or dislikes with a tick. Further to this, smartphones are empowered with Internet access capability, which complicates the matter.

For example, when students face difficult questions they no longer ask the professors; instead, they conveniently do a quick Google search to find answers. Yet,these answers, taken from cyber space, may not be the right answer to their questions. In this way, the smartphone not only affects a student socially but also mentally. Mentally they become weak because they don’t need to use their brain quite as often to find and to solve difficult questions. They switch to Google for any and everything they want to know. Eventually, from the social aspect, students will become more and more self-centered and shy because they begin to lose their motivation for physical communication. The frightening fact is that they may end up preferring solitude to being with the community. Finally, smartphones are beginning to tear down our students’ capabilities to self-regulate. According to the MPRA research report published by Imtiaz Arif and Wajeeha Aslam in 2014, before the launch of 3G and 4G spectrums in Pakistan in April, the smartphone market was only 15% of the mobile industry. After the availability of these new mobile networks through three major network operators in the country, the demand for smartphones shot up rapidly and it is expected that within a year, it will increase to a whopping 50%. It is, perhaps, this positive outlook that United Mobile, which had been one of the country’s major distributors for Nokia phones, launched its own smartphone recently.

The optimism of mobile phone makers ahead of the spectrum sanction was also regected in the country’s telecoms imports. Mobile phone imports for the month of February, 2014 increased by 20% to Rs 6 billion, compared to Rs 5 billion in February, 2013. The opponent may put forward the idea that the acceptance of smartphones in their lives has brought them tremendous advantages. For example, they can communicate with their friends via Internet easily, at a lesser cost and without any restrictions. But, a survey conducted by (CHI, 2007) speaks otherwise. Interviews were made with students at a Korean university based on their addiction to their smartphones. The outcome was utterly negative.

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The average student’s reply was that, even when they wanted to stop using their smartphones, they were not able to do so. They would continue to use them involuntarily. This shows that they have somehow lost their self-control and self-regulatory power. Instead of them taking control over the device, the smartphone in turn took control over its master. It is like we are not only dependent on our smartphones, but are completely addicted to its use. We are no longer our own masters. Einstein once said “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” Technology has encircled our imagination and our knowledge. Today we are the slaves of our very own hand-made devices. Instead of being ourselves, we trust more on technology rather than our own kind.

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The Negative Impacts of Smartphones. (2018, August 02). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 27, 2023, from
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