Device of Plenty

“But it’s just a rectangle smaller than a piece of toast.” True, but it is so much more than that. It’s got its blue and gold case on, looking all white and shiny inside with its screen blacker than your soul. Just with the push of that little circular button at the bottom, the blackness is illuminated to the picture of a sunrise off a pier. With one more touch, the screen transforms once again. It becomes a little darker, but this time is filled with little mysterious squares all decorated uniquely. Shall I click on one of these squares and find out what happens?

If you haven’t figured it out by now and are still thinking to yourself, ‘What the heck is she talking about?,’ then the answer is that this device is a phone. And not just any phone, but the world famous IPhone 6. I bet you have your phone sitting next to you right now; but why is that? What is the point of everyone having their phone with them all the time?

IPhone showing some of its many apps

Phones are such a crucial part to a lot of people’s lives nowadays. With the somewhat recent invention of the smartphone people just can’t seem to put them down. The reason for this: phones give people access to everything they need at the tip of their fingers. Think about it. You’re hungry, so you go on the internet, look up the number for a pizza place, call them up, and bam you’re eating pizza in no time. Or say you’re bored, so you decide to indulge yourself into the enticing world of social media.

No matter what you’re trying to do, I bet your phone can get the job done one way or another. The original intent of the phone — to communicate with others — is still a major use today. Now we just have numerous ways to go about it, whether its calling, texting, emailing, skyping, or whatever other method you use. In fact, according to calling is the sixth main use of smartphones (Daily Mail Reporter). Sometimes it can just be faster and easier to send a quick text instead. Phones are so handy when it comes to communication and makes connecting with others very easy.

A few examples of social media. Twitter, Instagram, google+, Facebook, Tumblr, and YouTube.

So if you’re not using your phone to communicate with someone, what are you doing on it? My guess is looking at social media. Social media has started playing a bigger role in society today. Facebook now has an average of 1.1 billion users every month (“Top 15 Most Popular Social Networking Sites”). Instagram, twitter, Pinterest, snapchat, and Tumblr are all high on the list as well as top social media sites. Social media may be fun to look at, but do we spend too much time on it? An average American spends just under two hours a day on social media sites (Mander, Jason). With this entertainment easily accessible sometimes it can be such a distraction.

Speaking of distractions, games are another way to spend some free time. Games of all sorts are played on phones. They can be fun and addicting. Some games make sure you die quickly to ensure you wanting to keep trying to get farther, while others are drawn out and require you to continually be on them to make any progress. Nonetheless, games continue to draw people in to play them and provide yet another form of entertainment on a phone.

Phones can be really useful in finding nearly any information you might need within seconds. Get curious about something, look it up on google. Need to know how to get to that party? Plug it into your maps. Need to find a gas station nearby? Just ask Siri. Your phone can tell you just about anything you need to know!

Tool box representing how a phone has many different tools on it.

Is it also a toolbox? Phones have so many handy tools built in. No need to try and find a flashlight when the power goes out because your phone is equipped with one. If you are as bad at math as I am and you need to do some equating, you have a calculator right at your hands. Alarms are widely used on phones now so you don’t have to listen to that painfully annoying sound real alarm clocks make. Say you want to take a picture of the cute dog you see on the street, but you don’t have your camera. Well lucky you, phones have built in cameras. They are nice to keep track of your schedule through the calendar and give your friendly reminders so you don’t miss your meeting. See, it’s just full of helpful gadgets.

Out of all this cool stuff a phone can do I see why people don’t want to put them down, but can this be a problem? The average American spends 4.7 hours using their phone. That’s about one-third of the time we’re awake (Chang, Lulu). That seems like a waste of time to be spending on a phone when people could be spending that time doing something productive. The downside to this all-encompassing device is that it can be hard to disconnect sometimes. You have everything you need in one little piece of technology, but it doesn’t last forever. Sometimes you have to charge it, which can be a pain — especially if it dies when you don’t have a charger with you. They also tend to break sometimes. It sucks when you drop your phone just once and the entire screen cracks. Phone companies like to do a mean thing in making it so the phone doesn’t last forever so you’ll want or need to go buy a new one more frequently. Not only do you want to buy one when it breaks, but companies are always coming out with new phones and people feel the need to buy them even when their phone is perfectly fine. In today’s society it’s all about buying the new thing that’s bigger and better. So besides phones having negative effects on people themselves, they can also have a negative effect on the environment with all this perfectly good phones going to waste and all the energy it takes to make new ones constantly. There is also that nerve-racking feeling you get when you realize you’re lost and have no service. So along with all the many wonderful things phones do, there are also some issues with this device.

If phones aren’t the most useful piece of technology in such a small little form, I don’t know what is. They have so many functions, whether it be for communication, information, or entertainment, this device always has your back. It has everything you could possibly need at the tip of your fingers. Of course though, with all good things also come the bad: wasting your precious time, no service, or it running out of battery when you need it. Do all the good sides to a phone outweigh the downfalls? I guess that’s for you to decide. It all depends on how you decide to interact with your phone. Are you going to use it for good or evil? For the essential things that you need to use it for that can make life a little easier or for wasting your time on social media? However you decide to use it the phone will probably be able to do it.

Daily Mail Reporter. “Top ten uses for a mobile phone? Calls come SIXTH! 40% of smartphone users say they could manage without call function on their device” Daily Daily Mail, 30 October 2014
“Top 15 Most Popular Social Networking Sites” eBiz. eBiz, February 2016
Mander, Jason. “Daily time spent on social networks rises to 1.72 hours” globalwebindex. globalwebindex, 26 January 2015
Epstein, Zach, BGR. Web. 16 February 2016
OCAMA. Web. 16 February 2016
United Way. Web. 16 February 2016
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