Saturday, September 11, 2010

Are "Smart Phones" Making Us More Dumber?

Title intentionally grammatically incorrect on purpose, I increasingly wonder if there is a net benefit to society's use (or overuse) of Smart Phones, PDAs, and i-Everythings.  Pondering this a bit, I have thought about what are the advantages and disadvantages of owning one (or several) and here is what I have come up with so far:

Advantages

--Information available on-demand, just about everywhere
--Can work 24/7, if you want to, anywhere
--Feeling of safety knowing that one can find any police, fire, or other emergency service easily
--Saving money using mobile coupons
--Easier to communicate with friends and family through text, email, and phone calls, all in one place
--Saves paper on things like boarding passes and receipts

Disadvantages

--Additional expense each month, and you might have to work more hours to pay for it
--Reduced ability to communicate naturally (cannot converse/social awkwardness with live people)
--Always needing an answer right away to questions making you less patient
--Encourages stupid things like texting while driving (illegal in many states) or walking across the street without paying attention to cars (I see this all of the time)
--Constant audio/visual stimuli stressing the brain out
--Loss of ability to navigate a traditional map and a loss of sense of direction
--A big one: addictive tendencies, much like a drug user

I could go on, but the point is that it's a significant, expensive decision to make.  The lifetime cost of a Smart Phone is substantial and it may be unnecessary for a lot of people.  But, that was probably said about computers at one point, too.