The Cell Phone: Our Nation’s Newest Addictive Drug?

Have you ever taken a brief moment to stop and take a look around you when out in public? Whether it be at the mall or at a restaurant, notice how the majority of people are nose deep into their cell phones, checking their Twitter, or updating their Facebook statuses. Whatever it may be, many people seem to find more interest in their cell phones than those in front of them. We Americans tend to be so enthralled in technology that we forget the people and things going on around us. We need to realize that technology is corrupting our society and taking away from time spent with those around us. With the constant connection to the world around us in our smart phones, we lose sight of our values, and what’s important. Many people would rather be Snapchatting or scrolling through their Instagram feed, over having a face to face conversation with a good friend. As addictive as our cell phones may be, this gadget is corrupting our society as well as taking away from the things that are most important.

In many cases, people would rather text the people in the same room with them, rather than verbally communicate. Americans are so wrapped up in the Internet that we’d rather cancel plans to sit at home on our phones, yet when we do go out, we spend more time focused on the glowing screen of our smart phones and less time enjoying the company of those around us. The use of technology is causing a rise in anxiety among people who feel the need to be in constant attachment with their cell phones. A full 66 percent of all adults suffer from “nomophobia.” (Elmore, Nomophobia: A rising Trend in Students) Nomophobia is the irrational fear of being without your mobile phone or being unable to use your phone. There has been such an increased dependency on the need for constant interaction with mobile devices that people struggle to function without it. In many cases, too much phone use can also cause the failure to release melatonin. Melatonin is actually something released into your system by your brain that is designed to help your body reach a state of relaxation. There have been studies that are able to link the overuse of smartphones and cellphones to a delayed release or a lack of release of melatonin into your body. (15 Facts About The Brain Of A Phone Addict) Not only this, but some cell phone users show similar symptoms as a drug addict. Certain people use smartphones to lift their moods, and it may take more and more time on those phones to provide the same level of enjoyment. (Kowalski, Watch Out: Cell Phones Can Be Addictive)

I personally struggle with putting my phone down. I decided to test my own dependency on my cell phone by turning it off for a day and doing my best not to use it. One major thing I noticed in doing this was a recurring desire to check and see if I had any messages or snapchats. At least once an hour I would get a small urge to check, and the longer I went without checking, the more my mind told me to look. I was able to successfully go almost 12 hours without needing it, but had to interrupt my test to get in contact with my parents. I personally know that I, as well as many others, suffer from addiction. Those addicted to their cell phones are receiving the same stimulation of their pleasure centers of the brain and find that their mind and body begin to physically crave the use of a device much in the way a drug addict would crave a particular substance. It truly is a bad habit that our nation has developed, and as well as anxiety, cell phones are also creating an increase in laziness throughout the country. Many children would rather text their sibling or parent from across the house, rather than getting up to go speak to them. Even on things such as homework, students would rather google the answer over the alternative of flipping through a textbook to find the answer to a question. In most cases, laziness can even result in weight gain. The use of technology is corrupting our nation with negative ideas, rather than helping us to grow and the only way to create growth in society is by putting down the phone and working to live life with less dependency on it.

Many people will say that smartphones have actually improved our society. These people are not wrong, but they are not completely right either. In some ways, it has improved the quality of life for many people. Being able to find the time of a local movie through the touch of a button, or ordering a pizza through an app, no matter what it is, technology in many cases has made so many things so much easier and so much more convenient. Now, smart phones also make it a lot easier to get in touch with friends and family that you don’t see as often. It’s as simple as shooting a quick text or direct message through social media which helps to keep you connected with those you don’t see, while still managing your busy lifestyle. “This is the first time in the entire history of humanity that we’ve connected in this way,” Amber Case, an anthropologist, stated in a 2010 lecture at TEDWomen. (Sutter, How Smartphones Make Us Superhuman) People are so dependent on their cellphones, mostly because it keeps us connected and in touch with anything and everything that we may need in our daily lives. As well as communicating, smartphones help to expose us on a global scale. We constantly pick up new ideas and revelations shared by people around the world. Smartphones keep us so connected with the rest of the world, and the events going on, in ways that newspapers never could. Among the capabilities of smartphones are GPS applications, which provide users with turn-by-turn directions to anywhere from nearly any location. Banking applications allow users to check their account balances and perform transfers, pay bills and, in some cases, deposit checks. Social networking, email and instant-messaging applications allow users to keep in close contact with friends, family and colleagues. Checking the weather, the latest news headlines, movie showtimes, stock standings and even the business hours at a store or restaurant make smartphones ideal for someone who wants those conveniences. (Tea, Advantages & Disadvantages of Smartphones) But, as convenient and helpful as smartphones may be, they’ve caused such a large dependency in our society that has turned into a dangerous addiction for many people, one that is almost impossible to break. Although smartphones have in many ways improved our nation, it has also continued to corrupt and hurt our nation.

The constant use of technology in our lives may be convenient but it is also harmful to both us and the people around us. The constant attachment to smartphones continues to feed into the addiction that many americans suffer from, and it also takes us away from spending time with people that are important to us, as well as taking away from our undivided attention when out to lunch, or even walking around the mall. We can’t just enjoy a moment anymore without feeling the uncontrolled urge to be on our mobile devices. Electronics are controlling the way that we think and act, causing a disconnection between us and the world around us. We need to learn how to put down our phones and just go out and enjoy our lives, without needing the constant distraction of a smartphone taking our attention away from the things that are important.