Smartphones is possibly the most disruptive technology of our times. It has completely changed human lives in the 21st century. In fact, smartphones have become an inseparable part of our routines and daily lives. Did you know? There are 3.5 billion smartphone users in the world today (2020). This approximately means that every third person on the globe owns a smartphone.
The mobile phone brought communication into our palms.
Like Steve Jobs said:
“We’ve designed something wonderful in your hand. Just wonderful.”
While they have indeed made our lives much easier like any new technology, they have their downsides too. The list of its many perks and perils can easily go a really long way.
So, we have summarised for you the major advantages and disadvantages of mobile phones:
5 Advantages of Mobile Phones
1. Instant Connect and Communication
Smartphones have made the world come closer in an almost literal sense. No matter in which parts of the world your family or friends are in, with a mobile phone they are simply a call and text away. Smartphone users can now instantly share messages, calls, images and videos. It also makes it easier for individual to inform and reach out for help in case of an emergency as well as witness festivities over live streams and video calls from miles apart.
2. Education for all
There was a time when education was largely a possessed luxury of the ones who could afford it. Even when democracies began recognising education as a basic right for all, many could not exercise their right to learn due to various socio-economic factors. However, smartphones and internet access have made education accessible to all. Anyone willing to learn, seeking knowledge or trying to learn new skills only need a smartphone to get to Google and YouTube to start. Notably, online learning in the current pandemic has been made possible for many through their smartphones only.
Entertainment has also been identified as an important function of the modern day mobiles. It offers us access to fun games, our favourite shows and movies at the touch of our fingertips. It had never been easier to kill your boredom and catch up on your dose of entertainment. Mobile phone makes it easier to relax and keeps us allentertained and amused.
4. Digital Transactions 24X7
Mobile phones and their many online shopping apps have definitely been a nice change for all those of us who hate to go shopping. Mobile phone allows secure digital banking feature 24×7. Thus, it allows people to help each other in times of need irrespective of the day and time unlike the old times when transactions needed to wait for the morning even in case of emergencies. Moreover, avenues of cashless banking with a mobile phone have been nothing short of a blessing as cash emerged as a potential virus carrier post the COVID-19 crisis.
5. Integrating several technologies into one
With a good smartphone in hand, you no longer need to carry your phone, purse, watch, or laptop. As you sneak out to a nearby café amidst work, your phone allows you to check on your work mails in case anything urgent comes up and also saves the unnecessary embarrassment on the day you forget your wallet at home. More importantly, you no longer need to weigh down yourself with a cam when you can click selfies on your smartphone on the go. Furthermore, with tonnes of apps for news, fitness, alarm, messaging, music and what not your life definitely gets simpler as smartphone integrates all these utilities and tech into a single gadget.
5 Disadvantages of Mobile Phones
1. Distracting and forever interrupting
I think we can easily remember our frustration on the many occasions when in the middle of a serious conversation, your or your partner’s phone rings up. It’s always available nature is surely a blessing in times of emergency or crisis. But, in general, it can easily become an unnecessary distraction at work and unwanted interruption in our personal lives. We can all agree that there is nothing quite irritating as the other person texting all the way through a date. However, it doesn’t any less concerning for a mommy to see her kids regularly playing video games while eating.
2. Negative Impacts on Health
Psychologists and health experts have been warning for years now about the negative impacts of increasing smartphone use on well-being. Research suggests that overspending your days’ time on the phone can induce negative feelings of distress. However, its negative effects, by no means, are limited to our mental health only. Its electromagnetic waves and radiations have often been reported to harm human health with severe strain to eyes as a common symptom among large sections of users.
3. Disrupting Social Life
While its wise utilisation helps us to stay connected to our friends from different corners of the world, it rarely does much for the real-time social events and gatherings. Flurry, an analytics firm has reported that on an average people use smartphones for at least five hours per day. This directly translates to decreasing social interactions in the actual world as everyone is busy chatting online.Those interactions on the way to and back from work with co-passengers seem to be getting rare by the day. Marriages and several long-awaited celebrations often become a venue filled with group of people busy in their virtual world, even as many happy looking pictures from the event make their way to FB and Insta.
Many individuals across the world admit to checking on their phones first thing in the morning as they wake up. Even worse, being on our phones also happens to be the last thing many of us do. Just like drug abuse or any other addiction, phone addiction can have adverse impact on the individual’s life. The problem often includes addiction to social media sites and video games. In a rather unexpected but welcome move, the World Health Organisation has also identified smartphone addiction as an actual disorder in 2019. Furthermore, you might be surprised but “Screen Fatigue” too is a real thing as identified by Google earlier this year.
5. Rising Cyber Crimes
As long as our files and lives stay entrapped in a gadget, it is likely that there will always be the threat of somebody sneaking into your device. While all the above perils of a smartphone can be avoided with practise, this one is probably the biggest challenge. As cyber security experts continue to relentlessly try to secure data, hackers are never very far in their attempts to find loopholes and break into the systems. With digitisation of economies, a person can lose all his life’s savings in a day even when it is no fault of his. Furthermore, ironically, as it promises to offer privacy with encryptions and passwords, it is also the biggest threat in itself to user privacy.
Though, it sounds cliché, like any other invention in human history, smartphone is neither a blessing nor a curse. It is just another tool in our hands we must learn to use judiciously for our own benefit rather than falling for its pitfalls.
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