The American economy has taken three major shifts from: agrarian, industrial and most recently the technological revolution. The last few decades have lent, cellular devices, iPads, iPods, computers, and most importantly the Internet have completely transformed the way people interact in society. Being that the iPhone has practical everyday uses it consequently forms a pattern of dependence to its user causing almost an addiction. Problems associated with today’s society are that people are more and more involved with knowledge of computer and phone related devices causing society to rely on the direct feed of information rather than the interaction of people. In an attempt to stay connected, society is inadvertently setting itself further from its intended goal by becoming slaves to a shining digital screen.

The feeling of being connected is a driving force in the lives of all human beings. So much so that even a short interruption or gap can cause people to feel instantly detached or stressed out. Ultimately, the need for connection comes down to the fundamental characteristic that all living creatures share, that characteristic being happiness. This psychological factor drives people to constantly search for any form of interaction possible in their lives. “But it’s not how rich or poor your social network actually is that seems to make the most difference, it’s how well-connected you think you are that seems to be the driving force[1]”. The data points to the fact that we are so reliant on attention that this desire can move people to be healthier by altering major life choices. Since the iPhone is an extremely convenient form of social interaction, people are highly inclined to tear their personal communicators out of their pockets at any chance they get. The impacts of this have been significant in reducing genuine interaction between people, in effect creating a device-to device culture.

The development of cellular technology in the 21st century has made it incredibly easy for people to be connected through one platform or another specifically via text message or social media applications. However, the ability to communicate with other individuals digitally, rather than in person can cause various societal impacts for all of those who are engaged. First, studies have shown that a “substantial amount of communication is non-verbal[2]” (facial expressions, gestures, eye contact, posture, and tone of voice). When one communicates through means of technology such as cellular devices, they may be considerably limiting the amount of information that is sent or received. Colloquialisms such as sarcasm, tone and other variations of informal conversation typically used in face-to-face dialogue also fall by the wayside when words are communicated on the screen. Studies from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology show that while the sender of a text message may think it is clear, “50 percent[3]” of the time the message is actually comprehended improperly. Causing people to often be confused or upset with the sender of the message.

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A large problem that is associated with misconstrued messages in today’s society is indirect or accidental bullying. This miscommunication often carries out in schools or the workplace where common conversation can be awkward even unwelcoming for some. Especially common amongst young teens and adults, which their posts or pictures uploaded to social media sites can cause various unintended problems to those who are subjected in the post due to misinterpretation. It is safe to say that the mobile devices have caused many problems in today’s culture and that our society would be better off with a more self-regulation of its usage.

Along with many societal issues, the iPhone has also caused many people to develop negative physiological habits that inhibit interaction and contribution to society of a human being independent from its usage. When faced with any new or awkward situations, the new common approach is to divert your eyes away from conflict, and hide behind the screen of your phone as to appear busy or preoccupied. The iPhone not only allows this type of predisposed introverted behavior, but it actually encourages it. With all of its social media platforms, messaging applications, and news apps, the iPhone naturally sucks you into your very own world. It seems that today’s society has grown somewhat lost without constant interaction. Studies on daily activities show that “33 percent of people are unable to go on a dinner date without out checking their phones, and even worse, 19 percent of people report using their phones in a place of worship” [4]. The inability to complete basic tasks such as spending quality time with the ones whom they love, and showing their respect to God is a huge eye opener. Cellular phones have become one of the largest addictions that our society faces today. Users have become encompassed in a proxy world in which they value “likes” over genuine accomplishments, forming a society not keen to value topics of importance.

Whether society welcomes it or not, innovation is only bound by the constraints of time and the effects are sure to shape each of our paths. However, the form in which society uses technology will shape the personalities of each respective user. Smartphones provide inherent benefits but their ability to distract people away from each other needs to be discussed. People often turn to their phones as a sense of confidence in order to shy away from a genuine interaction and this its vice. As responsible users it is imperative to try and break away from these habits in order to stimulate better communication, forming a more engaging society.

References:

[1] Neil Wagner, ”The Need to Feel Connected,” The Atlantic, February 13, 2012, http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/02/the-need-to-feel-connected/252924/

[2] Takashi Nakamura, “Computers in Human Behavior” Faculty of Humanities, November 19 2014,http://linksource.ebsco.com/FullText.aspx?linkout=http%3a%2f%2fwww.sciencedirect.com%2fscience%3f_ob%3dGatewayURL%26_origin%3dEBSCOLINK%26_method%3dcitationSearch%26_volkey%3d07475632%252343%252368%26_version%3d1%26md5%3da90fd006d2437b339b3151b01e44034b

[3] Alyson Shontell, “50% Of Sent Emails Probably Make You Look Like A Dolt,” Business Insider, January 13th 2011, http://www.businessinsider.com/50-of-your-emails-probably-make-you-look-like-a-dope-2011-1

[4] Eileen Brown, “Phone sex: Using our smartphones from the shower to the sack” ZD Net, July 11 2013, http://www.zdnet.com/article/phone-sex-using-our-smartphones-from-the-shower-to-the-sack/

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