Smartphones have become a part of our life, but can excessive smartphone use negatively affect our brain?
In only the last 7-10 years, smartphones have entirely revolutionized our lives. Thanks to smartphones we can take our business wherever we go. We work more effectively when we travel, we check email and keep communication away from the office, and we can even manage our finances through online banking.
However, as much as smartphones have enhanced our already busy lives, it’s easy to note that at times they may be taking over. New Tech City, a branch of New York public radio, has developed a plan to see how excessive smartphone use may negatively affect our brain. The host of New Tech City, Manoush Zomorodi, is trying to pinpoint the dangers of spending too much time on a smartphone. The biggest concern? Smartphones keep us from ever being bored. According to New Tech City, boredom is necessary for creativity. Click here to listen to the podcast.
Zomorodi’s theory is that if we’re always on our phones, our minds never have time to daydream and come up with new ideas. If we are always busy, how much time is our mind engaged in something that will boost creativity and come up with new ideas?
So, is being bored actually a good thing? Or is our time better spent always soaking in knowledge from the internet? Studies show that having time when our mind isn’t engaged in a task actually improves creativity. If our mind is constantly crushing candy or scrolling through Facebook, how much time does that leave us to create new ideas in our mind?
The question is, how much time are we spending attached to our phones? Zomorodi sat on a busy street in New York City and made a tally of how many people passed her. She tallied 300 out of 1,000 people were on their phones. That’s nearly ⅓ of people walking and being on their phone at the same time.
Smartphone use is on the increase. A study by the mobile phone provider O2 reveals that the majority of people spend more time on their phone than with their significant other. This same study shows that we spend most of our smartphone time browsing the internet and checking social media. In fact, making phone calls was only the fifth most performed smartphone task.
Another concern with intemperate smartphone use is that it may keep us from having conversations with those around us. At bus stops or train stations, almost everyone pulls out their phone, some in an attempt to avoid having to talk to the person next to them. I’ve even seen people pull out their phone, scroll through a couple of apps, look at a picture, then put their phone away. When it comes to this, a smartphone restricts us from social situations.
About four years ago, I embarked on a journey to the Dominican Republic. Although the DR is well-established, almost no one there has a smartphone (or didn’t at the time). In fact, I remember how baffled I was when I saw an iPhone after being in the country for almost six months. When I got to the airport in Miami after being in the DR for two years, I couldn’t believe how much had changed. People were staring down at their phones and everyone had ear buds in. Quite frankly, it stressed me out. The simplicity of my disconnected two years was over. I quickly learned about two new apps: Instagram and Spotify. Apparently, they’re pretty popular these days.
Now, after being back in the States for a couple of years, I am just as attached to my phone as everyone else. I purchased an iPhone 6 as soon as I possibly could, I’m constantly checking Twitter, and I find myself doing business right before I go to bed, even though a task could easily wait until the morning. I log into Spotify and listen to music every moment that I’m alone. My phone has become a part of me.
In today’s business-driven world, we need our smartphones. I’m not by any means promoting the idea that we should go back to that late 90’s brick and only use our mobile devices for phone calls. Smartphones help us dramatically.
Manoush Zomorodi suggests using an App called Moment to track how much you’re on your phone. This can be a great way to know exactly how much precious “thinking” time you’re losing each day. Watch as a few people are surprised by their results from Moment.
Here at Resell.biz, we’re going to cut down the useless smartphone time we spend every single day. We’re not going to say that we won’t check email outside of work or never log into Twitter. Instead, we’re setting a goal to take the wasted time spent on games or reading the same Facebook feed over and over again, and dedicate that time to think and unwind.
We invite you to do the same! Let us know how it works out by sending us a tweet @Resellbiz (ok, that may be just a bit ironic).