New Jersey Newsroom / Past Work

Are Smartphones Good or Evil? Technology and the Breakdown of Communication

Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

BY CHRISTOPHER ESSNER

In a world of iPhones, Facebook, tweets, and Instagrams, people are becoming ever more connected. A report from Strategic Analytics this passed year announced the number of smartphones topped one billion and will double by 2015. The advantages of this are obvious as you can now reach anyone in the world at the drop of a hat.

But could all this connectivity be hurting communication?

Well, according to scientists Andrew K. Przybylski and Netta Weinstein the answer is “yes.” Their study found that the mere presence of a cellphone in a room can hurt interpersonal communication. Think about it.How frustrating is it when you try to talk to someone who is constantly distracted by a cell phone?

Chris Pellicano, a New Jersey native, feels that the need to be constantly connected has become a burden. “The multiple ways to communicate fragment the ability to maintain a strong relationship,” Pellicano said.

If people feel that this has become such a problem, why not just stop using it? Actually, many are. Sixty-one percent of Facebook users say they have taken a break from the social media website for a couple of weeks. Reasons given for the hiatus are attributed to lack of time, drama, or concern over spending too much time on the site.

This is easier said than done for many, however. It is uncommon for many to leave the room without bringing their cell phones with them. Matthew Fojo-Prieto, a student at Rutgers University, is one such person.

“I don’t leave home without a cell phone charger,” Matt said.

John Barlas, another Rutgers student, thinks an even bigger problem is at hand.

“Being connected isn’t healthy; people have severe ADD (Attention deficit disorder) when it comes to constantly using their phones.”

study by the University of Maryland found that when a person becomes technologically unplugged, he begins to develop symptoms similar to that of an addict. Feelings of anxiousness and isolation become apparent. It’s this feeling of isolation that almost everyone can identify with.

As more information about the detrimental effects of technology becomes available, would it be reasonable for people to consider a non-tech environment and give up their “tech toys” for good?

Barlas doesn’t think so. He believes the benefits outweigh the consequences, especially in the current job market.

“To not be tech savvy puts those trying to seek a good job at a disadvantage to those who are well rounded at using the internet or apps,” he said.

With so many already connected, and so many more joining the digital realm, it is becoming a necessity to be a part of this online community. Though this problem may be a new one, it’s one many people are happy to have.

What do the readers think? Do you feel living in an “age of connectivity” is good or bad? Sound off in the comments below

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