In the modern world, technology has made life easier. However, technology has also brought with it many problems. Many people in the world are using smartphones to send and receive text messages, to make calls and to surf the internet. Studies show that approximately 56 percent of the adult Americans own smartphones (Pew Internet & American Life Project, 2013). People are enjoying the services these smartphones are providing. They are becoming increasingly affordable. It is a small percentage of population that will not have a smartphone in the near future. In addition, smartphones are replacing computers because they can handle all the functions of a normal computer. They are advantageous because they are portable. A person can use his or her smartphone anywhere; on the streets, in the bus, in the hotel, in the field and in almost all places that a person can possibly be. However, people do not know that smartphones are deadly devices. They have many negative effects in people’s lives. They have bad effects on the health, on education and on social life.
There are several negative effects on health that can be associated with the use of smartphones. One of the worst negative effects of using smartphones is near-sightedness (Kleinman, 2013). The condition is caused by spending long hours staring at the screen of a smartphone at a short distance. Many people who have smartphones spend a lot of time texting and browsing on the social websites. This results to straining of the eyes due to focusing on a small screen and reading small font letters. The straining causes eye problems. The condition is diagnosed if a person has to hold the phone even closer than normal. Dr. David Allamby described this condition as “Screen Sightedness” because it is caused not only by the smartphones, but also by spending long hours staring at a computer screen. Incidences of eye problems are on the rise.
Pain is another health concern as far as use of smartphones is concerned. When one spends long hours on the smartphone, eyes become dry. The dryness causes pain in the eyes. In addition, staring the screen for a long time makes facial muscles to become tensed. Consequently, some people feel pain on the facial muscles (Rahman, 2011). There is also increased demand to use smartphones from the environment. For example, some people feel pressured to reply mails from clients and bosses. Such pressure amounts to overwork. There is increased workload and the demands imposed become unbearable. Sometimes it leads to depression. The results of such conditions can be risk factors for heart attacks and stroke. These are catastrophic effects of using smartphones.
The other negative effect of using smartphones on the health is the impact on the hearing ability. Most smartphone users use headphones to listen to music and other sounds from their phones. In order to feel the beats of the music, they tend to put loud volumes. Loud voice in the ear from an earphone damages the ear such that one cannot hear background sound. In addition, loud sound near an ear causes tinnitus, which is an uncomfortable ringing sound that is continuous. Moreover, loud music can damage the hair cells that are responsible for perceiving sound signals. This damage is permanent because, apparently, these hair cells do not regrow. Many people are unaware. The damage results to hearing loss. Although it does not occur instantly, it occurs slowly over time. The longer the duration of exposure to loud music, the more the damage and the earlier the deafness will occur. More often, listening to loud music leads to high frequency hearing loss (Martin, 2011).
Also, too much concentration on the phone can make one feel dizzy. The brain requires rest moments after hard work. Unfortunately, some people are addicted to their smartphones that they rarely give their brain time to rest. Other people suffer from headaches following prolonged use of the phones (Wen, 2013). Neck pain is also common because of constant bending of the neck when using the phone. It results from stiffening of the neck and shoulder muscles. Pain on the wrist is also common due to inflammation of the tendons. Moreover, use of smartphones has been associated with brain tumors too. Radiations from the phone are implicated in this case. Brain tumors cause other effects such as Parkinsonism. Also, brain tumors become a constant reason for a headache. It can also precipitate migraines, which is a very severe form of headache. The radiation can also trigger insomnia. These effects have catastrophic consequences on the quality of life of an individual.
Other health concerns related with the use of the smartphones are with regard to hygiene. Many people do not realize how dirty the touchscreen of their smartphones are. All they care about is typing and sending texts as well as browsing as much as they can. Studies have revealed that the screen of a smartphone is contaminated by thousands and thousands of viruses and bacteria (Phillips, 2012). These microorganisms get transferred to the finger tips. Consequently, the viruses and the bacteria find their way to the mouth and eyes where they contribute to infections. This often happens to people who do not maintain a high quality of hygiene. Rarely will a person wash his or her hands before eating after using a smartphone. Incidentally, some people use their smartphones even when they are eating.
Smartphones have also resulted to negative effects on the people’s social life. A clear illustration of the negative effects is the way people have turned to using their smartphones at their free time instead of socializing with physical friends. Some people ignore others to have time with their smartphones (Diem, 2013). Consequently, social ties have broken and people live lonely lives with their sole companion being their smartphone. It is sad that people do not care about their neighbors but know many things about people that they would never meet in their lifetime. Moreover, use of smartphones has led to a poor relationship between couples. First of all, when a person engages with the phone most often, he or she has no time for the other partner. For a relationship to thrive, partners must have enough time to talk about things that concern their relationship. However, when one of the partners has attention that is distracted due to the use of the smartphone, the relationship suffers (Bozeman, 2011). It makes the other partner feel less important. It can result to separations or divorce. Even parents are spending most of their time on their smartphones instead of spending time with their children. This disconnection affects the children’s lives (Annasandifer, 2012). They learn from their parents that socializing is not worth the time and that chatting over the phone is the most enjoyable thing. Today, society has changed greatly. People prefer spending most of their time using their smartphones to visiting friends or reading books.
Another negative effect of using smartphones that people should know is the bad work habits that it creates. Some people use smartphones even at the workplaces. Work place etiquette discourages too much use of the phone at the expense of serving people. However, some people use their time in the office texting and mailing their friends using their smartphones. Such people rarely pay attention to their work. They even ignore their clients when they are busy with their phones. Consequently, many complains arise with regard to the quality of services received from such offices. Chances of losing clients under such circumstances are high. On the other hand, clients do not observe office etiquettes as well. It is not uncommon to find someone entering an office with headphones in the ears. It is such a bad behavior and it makes office interactions informal which should not be the case.
Addiction to smartphones has contributed to the occurrence of some car accidents. Car accidents occur when a driver is texting while driving. Many people who own smartphones do so oblivious of the dangers associated with such behavior. It is until such an accident occurs that they realize their mistake. It is disheartening to realize that most people are not aware of the danger they are putting themselves in when they are operating their phones while driving. Moreover, studies have revealed that late night use of smartphones has been associated with insomnia. It has been discovered that smartphone radiation interferes with the production of melatonin, a hormone that is responsible for inducing and maintaining sleep (kransz, 2014).
Negative effects of smartphones are also being experienced in the education sector. First of all, students who carry their smartphones in the classroom spend most of their time texting and browsing in the internet instead of pay attention to their teacher. Thus, the levels of poor performance in schools are on the rise (Kransz, 2014). The lack of attention could also be attributed to the lack of sleep of students due to late-night use of the smartphones. Consequently, such students end up with poor memories and this can explain the poor performance of the students. Moreover, students like playing games provided in the smartphones. Many times, such students will refuse to go to their classes to have time to play games on their smartphones. In addition, students end up not doing their school assignment because there time is spent on the smartphones.
Use of smartphones has led to a loss of creativity. In order to think creatively, the mind has to be subjected to free moment for it to wander. However, with smartphone users, the mind is continuously being fused on the screen. That does not leave plenty of time for the mind to generate creative thoughts. In addition, smart phones have affected communication greatly (Nemas, 2011). When it comes to workstations, employees have perfected the art of communicating using their smartphones by texting each other. Unfortunately, even bosses are using the same to communicate important matters to their employees. In this case, there are minimal physical interactions. To this respect, verbal communication is greatly impaired.
Excessive attachment to smartphones also has negative impacts on the economy. Many people waste too much valuable time texting and visiting social media on their smartphones instead of concentrating on their work. If employees used most of their time doing work-related activities, they could add more value to the economy. However, most people appear to care less about their work. They spend too much time using the smartphone oblivious of the consequences of such behavior. A research was carried in 2007 to find out the impact of smartphones in workplaces. It was discovered that most employees did not meet deadlines in their assignments due to the concentration that they put on their smartphone instead of on their work (Raham, 2011).
Finally, it is has been established that people who constantly use smartphones get addiction. Addiction for anything is not a good attribute. When addiction sets in, it means the person cannot live without doing what he or she normally does. In this regard, an addicted smartphone user will feel urge to look at his or her smartphone at any moment even at the most inappropriate place such as in the church. Whenever the person thinks about his or her phone, the urge to look at it comes in. They are tempted to look at the updates in the social media as well as to chat with friends. Therefore, addiction falls among the negative effects associated with smartphones.
Smartphones are good devices that make life enjoyable. However, their inappropriate use has led to numerous problems as elaborated in the essay. Awareness of these negative effects is important so that they can be avoided. Some of the effects have long term consequences. For instance, loud music can lead to permanent loss of hearing ability. Similarly, eyesight can be affected on long term use of the phones. Poor social lives are also resulting from wide use of smartphones. People have made smartphones important parts of their lives hence ignoring people in their lives. Working ethics have also deteriorated leading to poor productivity.
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