In a world where digital connectivity is constantly advancing and smartphone usage has become a natural component in our daily lives, we often neglect to consider the potential dangers it might create, especially for children.
Smartphones have obvious benefits for children when it comes to things such as homework, research, and after-school activities, but some studies suggest that it may be causing more harm than good as it causes excess stress and anxiety. Devices packed with seemingly endless apps and social media platforms serve as a continuous distraction for children and also put a lot of strain on their abilities to interact with their peers.
Assistant Professor of psychology at Rice University, Philip Kortum, published his research in 2015 with the title – “You Can Lead a Horse to Water But You Cannot Make Him Learn: Smartphone Use in Higher Education”.
“Smartphone technology is penetrating world markets and becoming abundant in most college settings. We were interested to see how students with no prior experience using smartphones thought they impacted their education,” says Kortum.
Although users first thought that mobile devices would heighten their skills to complete homework, perform test, and improve grades overall, the research indicated that the contrary was true.
Why peer-to-peer connection is important
Additionally, a study from 2018 titled – “Digital Addiction: Increased Loneliness, Anxiety, and Depression” states that overuse of a smartphone is similar to other forms of substance abuse. “The behavioral addiction of smartphone use begins forming neurological connections in the brain in ways similar to how opioid addiction is experienced by people taking Oxycontin for pain relief,” said Professor of Health Education at San Francisco State University, Erik Peper.
A survey of 135 San Francisco State students revealed that the students who are on their phones the most often were the ones reporting elevated levels of isolation, loneliness, depression, and anxiety. The thought is that the loneliness is a result of in-person interactions being replaced with communication that lacks the verbal and physical cues that establish a healthy social intelligence.
Many students were also found to engage in multitasking, where although several activities are being performed, none are being executed adequately, as their attention was thinly dispersed among each action.