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When Smartphones Are Dumb

Updated on September 26, 2014
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You may not be surprised to know that over 125 million Americans owned smartphones in 2013, according to a according to a 2013 Mobile Future in Focus report conducted by comScore. This was a 29 percent increase from the previous year and a staggering 99 percent two-year increase. The number of new users is only rivaled by the amount of time they spend on these devices. And this may be the unique problem presented by smartphones.

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Two Hours a Day

Even though it’s a “phone,” making phone calls is actually the fifth most frequent use of smartphones. According to “All About You,” a report issued by mobile network o2, the average Smartphone user spends 128 minutes a day on this device. So what are they doing?

24.81 minutes are spent browsing the Internet

17.49 minutes are spent checking social networks

15.64 minutes are spent listening to music

14.44 minutes are spent playing games

12.13 minutes are spent making calls

11.1 minutes are spent checking/writing emails

10.2 minutes are spent text messaging

9.39 minutes are spent watching TV/films

9.3 minutes are spent reading books

3.42 minutes are spent taking photographs

However, some research indicates that Smartphone usage is much higher. According to a study published in the Journal of Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, participants checked their phone 34 times a day, and even more disturbing, it appears to be out of habit or done subconsciously.

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So What's the Problem?

If you’re one of the Smartphone users described above, you may not think you have a problem, but trust me, my friend you do.

Many people think that this repetitive checking makes them more productive, but numerous studies show that multitasking is actually counterproductive. If you’re working on a task or project and you stop to check your phone, it’s the equivalent of driving down the street and then stopping at a traffic light or stop sign. Every time you stop, you’re starting again from zero.

It’s also rude to those around you, if you’re interrupting in-person conversations to stop and look at your phone – or if you’re on the phone with one person and you stop to pick up your other phone to check messages, etc. You may not realize it, but even over the phone, others can tell that you’re distracted because you the quality of your conversation decreases. You start saying such phrases as, “And, uh . . .uh . . . yeah, I agree because . . . uh, uh . . .”.

Research also shows before that people who view screens (TV, computer, phone) before going to sleep have a harder time falling asleep and staying asleep. How smart is your phone if it’s stopping you from getting needed rest.

And leaning your head forward all of the time creates tenseness and pain in your neck and other areas of your body, while constantly looking at that small screen leads to eye strain and possibly, headaches.

So while you’re excited to be a Smartphone owner, don’t let its allure make you a dummy.

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