Is your Smartphone a Social Friend…or Foe?


As my sixth original post on my WordPress I’m going to share an article I read this morning regarding the social (or anti-social) outcomes that come with the frequent and constant use of the smartphone and other mobile gadgets.

Check it out here: Your smartphone could be turning you into a lousy friend – even when you’re not using it

I also suggest you to watch this brilliant TED Talk related to the matter:

If on one hand “smart technologies offer the possibility of instantaneous and continuous global communities where knowledge is shared, opinions are contributed, relationships are rekindled, expressions of support are enhanced and social movements are spawned”, on the other hand, regarding recent studies, there are more negative sides or the “smart” coin.

According to a new study released by Virginia Tech (The iPhone Effect: The Quality of In-Person Social Interactions in the Presence of Mobile Devices) – examining how “distracting digital stimuli” undermine the character and depth of our face-to-face interactions” -, your attention is divided socially even if you’re not actively looking at your phone, saying that the mere presence of a cellphone or smartphone on the table can disengage people during in-person conversations and hinder their empathy”.

The authors of the study argue that “networked technologies let us manage several loyalties – work, family, friends – at once“, but they also have a negative effect, breeding “a persistent state of ‘absent presence’ (…) a technologically mediated world of elsewhere“.

For many, digital distraction involves the “constant urge to seek out information, check for communication and direct their thoughts to other people and worlds,” the authors write. The phone becomes “representative of people’s wider social network and a portal to an immense compendium of information.” (A previous study by two of these researchers found that people checked their phones every three to five minutes, regardless of whether it rang or buzzed.)

The researchers write in the study that “individuals are more likely to miss subtle cues, facial expressions, and changes in the tone of their conversation partner’s voice, and have less eye contact”.

According to post-modern and contemporary studies these new global communities, gadgets and social medias deserve closer and deeper examination, they may even emerge at the cost or at least some sort of deficit of face-to-face interpersonal relationships.

Thanks again for reading and for following, I hope you’ve liked it and found it interesting.

Best regards,

Pedro Calado

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