Smart phones can hijack our minds. We rely on them as constant companions and sources of information. We keep smart phones close at hand day and night and check them up to 80 times a day. In a Gallup survey, more than half of iPhone owners said they couldn’t image life without them. No other device has such a hold on our attention, making it harder for us to concentrate.
Studies show that when a person at work hears their smart phone, even if they don’t check it, their work gets sloppier, their blood pressure spikes, and their problem-solving skills decline. The closer the phone, the worse people do, even if they’re turned off. People with their phone in view do the worst, while those with their phones in another room do the best. College students who brought their phones to class scored a full letter-grade lower than students who didn’t, even if they didn’t use them. Schools that banned phones found that students did better on standardized test. Phones also hurt social skills and relationships. Is anyone surprised?
Smart phones exert external forces that get into our heads and skew our thoughts and feelings. Like TV sets, they command our attention and transfix our eyes. They provide so much – mail, news, photos, updates on friends, knowledge of the world. It’s no wonder.
Smart or Not?
Smart phones weaken people’s intellects. With information at our finger tips, we make less effort to remember it. We end up with less knowledge and less capacity for reasoning, so we’re more superficial and gullible. Decreasing the functioning of our minds is dangerous. Clear thinking and clear perception are vital to our health, both physically and mentally.
These studies were collected by Nicholas Carr and appeared in the Wall Street Journal October 7-8, 2017.