July 16, 2015
How smartphones are changing human behavior
We are living in the data age – not simply because of the increasingly important role that technology is playing in our lives, but also because of the vast amounts of information being collated about our habits. While the wholesale interception of data and information by various governmental security services makes the headlines for all the wrong reasons, there are a number of studies that have recently been produced that have far-ranging implications. A surprising amount of them are to do with our relationship with our smartphones.
For example, there is a huge amount of information about what we do with our phones when we use them. For most Americans, their smartphone is the first thing they look at in the morning, and the last thing they check at night. During the day, most people check their phone on an hourly basis. People devote up to 85% of the time they spend using a smartphone on apps. Given the vast array of apps, from games to social networks to mapping and other useful tools, you might be forgiven for thinking that this time would be spread over dozens of different apps. In reality, we only use about 5 apps per person (though of course, one of them is bound to be the JT Travel App).
In terms of apps, we’re really only now starting to realize what our phones are capable of, and we are taking several steps closer toward making a reality out of what had before only been possible in science fiction. From using smartphone alerts to double the amount of lives saved from cardiac arrests, to helping manage epilepsy treatment, your phone will soon be able to tell if you are pregnant. Recent studies of usage habits show that the amount of time you spend with your handset might be an indicator that they might be suffering from depression. It won’t be long before the smartphone becomes more useful than Stark Trek’s tricorder – after all, if they can both diagnose any illness or injury within seconds, then surely the device that can do all that and play the latest Taylor Swift single is better. Unfortunately, it is not all good news – because smartphones are so useful for accessing information, lab results and other studies, doctors have been using them in surgeries and hospitals, but not treating them with the same level of hygiene as they do other devices – this is leading to the spread of disease.
There’s other bad news too. Smartphones are making us more forgetful, they are affecting our concentration, making us dumber in general, and making us more forgetful (and did I mention that they are making us more forgetful?). They are also being blamed for the decline of the traditional family unit. Not surprising, when studies have revealed that one in eight of us are addicted to our phones.
There are some surprisingly positive findings too. Millennials, the name given to the generation born after the 1980s, are cooking more than ever before thanks to the ease with which smartphones can make recipes available. We can use them to find lost dogs. We are even able to study issues of human morality.
One of the places where smartphones are having the greatest impact is Africa. This is a country where the number of people who have landlines is almost non-existent. In just 10 years, they have gone from having very few cellphones and minimal access to the internet to leading the world in terms of mobile banking. It has become a hugely important resource that is drastically changing normal life.
There are a vast array of smartphones out there, from no-frills handsets to gold-plated, diamond-studded pieces of technological art. But you don’t need the very latest models, nor do you need to go for a particular brand. Cheap, unbranded handsets have just as much capability and processing power as the very newest models. So even if you are not going on holiday, grab an affordable Telestial smartphone today, and see how it can begin to change your life.