Checking Up: Generation Y – Are smartphones ruining us?

Morgan Profumo

Morgan Profumo

We all do it. Walk blindly around campus with our feet on the ground, but our eyes glued to our phones. We don’t dare look up because whatever we are looking at is far more important than anything happening in front of us. We control our phones; our phones don’t control us, right?

According to a poll taken by the Pew Research Center, as of October 2014, 90 percent of American adults own a cell phone. Of those 90 percent, 65 percent own a smartphone. The increasing number of smartphone users implies a decrease in face-to-face communication.

Understandably, effective face-to-face communication is a skill imperative to life. Our generation would much rather hide safely behind the screen of our phones or computers when addressing conflicts instead of undergoing physical confrontation.

When pointing out the con of anti-social behavior that we assume stems from our cell phones, we must also weigh the pro of quicker communication. With the invention of smartphones came efficiency. The amount of information we produce has increased tremendously. 

A tweet, a post or a picture can be shared with everyone on the Internet immediately. Along with efficiency, we are able to multitask. We stand in the Starbucks line typing an email, texting and scrolling through Instagram, all while simultaneously deciding which drink we plan to order. We live our lives fast.

When we are dependent on our smartphones for everything we do, we begin forming a relationship that is potentially harmful. According to an article written by Amanda Schupak for CBS News, Russell Clayton, a doctoral candidate at the University of Missouri’s school of journalism, performed an experiment based on blood pressure and heart rate that showed people are significantly more anxious when they are away from their phones than when their phones are in their hands.

This study contributed new evidence in support of the concept of nomophobia, a relatively new term, which is the fear of being without your phone. This could explain why some people feel the need to text and drive even though they are fully aware of the potential consequences.

We as college students love our phones. They contain everything we need to function properly from one day to the next. This is not necessarily a bad thing considering the compact amounts of information we are able to carry around in our pockets. The smartphone is an amazing piece of technology. As with any technological advancement, however, there will be downsides we’ll wish we could avoid. 

In all reality, the pros seem to outweigh the cons when it comes to the effects of smartphones on our generation. We just have to be keener on how and when we decide to use them.