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The surprising way smartphones affect our brains and our lives

My daughter insisted I get a smartphone for the GPS, since I am directionally-impaired. The GPS is the only reason I like it.

So, I usually leave my smartphone behind. The stupid thing beeps and farts at me constantly.

I believe it is rude to look at your smartphone when talking with people. A bad-mannered dismissal, it sends a clear message: "You are not important."

When I see a babies and toddlers staring at screens, while their parents are fixated on their smartphones, I want to say:

"Talk and play with your children! Look around. The world is beautiful and amazing. Your kids need active outdoor play, reading and learn social skills. They need you to play with them, listen and talk with you."


By LiterateHiker8
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We are DEVO

“Are we not men?”

@The-Krzyz devolving men

@Morganfreeman I prefer to see it as “downsizing!”

@The-Krzyz that’s even more miserable than devolving
Homo-Limito or Limited-Sapiens species already began to occupy planet.


I'm sorry, what? I was checking my daughter's most recent cat photo on Instagram.

Byrdsfan Level 8 Dec 14, 2018

I am tied to mine as I am in sales... When the phone rings it is income. But it slays me when out to dinner to see whole families sitting silent at the table and everyone is surfing their phone.

The dumbing down of America continues...

RiverRick Level 7 Dec 14, 2018

Can’t imagine we have much further to go. Wait!: I’ll check Google Maps!


I remember seeing a news story of Michelle Obama, at the time First Lady, speaking at a college commencement. The camera panned to the college graduates, who of course, had their heads down in their phones during her speech.

Being an educator, I can see first hand the distraction technology causes. I've noticed a gradual but pronounced decline in listening skills.

linxminx Level 7 Dec 15, 2018

I'm a teacher also. On the way to school yesterday, I heard on the radio that Vitamin Water is having some kind of challenge where you could win 100 grand if you successfully never use your smart phone for all of 2019. So when I was telling kids to put their phones away again yesterday, I burst into excitement in telling them about this contest. "You could win 100,000!" I exclaimed. Not one expression changed. Not one. And about 10 kids randomly said, "It's not worth it." (I have a 10 dollar trac phone I bought at Target 5 years ago for emergencies. The kids think I'm weird.)

@greyeyed123 Wow, your students reaction says it all. I don't understand this infatuation to the smart phone.

I probably would have been distracted too.


I keep mine on airplane mode much of the time. Frequently, a ringing phone or text message chime is the last thing I want or need. I carry it for my convenience, and mostly use it when alone.

alliwant Level 6 Dec 14, 2018

@CoastRiderBill Maybe. But I know a lot of people of various ages that don't even know what airplane mode does. You've actually got to seek out how to control your tech devices, because it takes a little more effort and knowledge than just talking or swiping.

@CoastRiderBill Ah, I see. You were focusing more readily accepting ubiquitous use. That is a rather different point. I'm enough of a gearhead to always look for a way to control any tech I have, which also shapes my perceptions.


My late partner died from Anaplastic Astrocytoma []
It is a brain tumor that formed on the left side of her brain. At first she slowly lost the ability to speak and then read (which was and was not totally true). She lasted all of 1 1/2 months but it was an easy death (for her) and she immediately signed up for the Death with Dignity program (which is why I am so involved with this). She was a super extrovert and was constantly on the phone. She would go to Seattle for work but within 15 minutes of returning to Lopez the phone would start. She was concerned about electromagnetic radiation and used skype and face time and the phone system in the car. Unfortunately, she was extremely sensitive to smells, sounds and often had headaches. VictoriaNotes has become an expert on this and she can tell you the danger of these devices and other things like CFL's and other electronic/electric devices in the home. To be aware one should buy an electromagnetic radiation meter which will wake you up to this modern danger. Of course kids are in much more danger than adults.

There was a Woman Postmaster in San Diego a Margaret L. Sellers who died of a rare brain cancer,she lived with the early phone stuck to her head mostly.

@Mike1947 In Europe there is a lot more concern for electromagnetic radiation from cell phones. Here the industry impedes any research. For them profit is more important than lives.


It's a tool.

Brerrost Level 5 Dec 18, 2018

Same here. I resisted getting a mobile phone for years because I thought they were rude. Then I got a burner phone for my mother and I because we kept getting separated at the store and it helped me find her. The landlines became more expensive than wireless plans, so I eliminated the landline and just used my cel. I also got my first smart phone for the GPS, but I find many features are very useful in emergencies and everyday use. But I find I often walk out of the house without it, and miss lots of calls and messages because I just had not thought about checking it. When I don't answer, my adult children assume I am ignoring, avoiding, or fallen and can't get up.

ohnoudun Level 5 Dec 18, 2018

I still have a difficult time believing cell phones caught on. Who wants to be called when they're out in the world, living their life? Remember when only doctors...and maybe lawyers...had pagers? Who envied THAT? Now people can reach you anywhere, anytime--in the store, in a restaurant, in the doctor's office, in the bathroom. And somehow these technology companies have become addiction pushers of this technology so people think it's a GOOD thing to dump piles of cash into this waste of time. In full disclosure I do have a trac phone...and probably spend too much time on the internet. But I'm still resisting a smart phone. Too expensive, and I still can't imagine why I would need one, much less want one.


I saw this and thought I would post it. Maybe the problem will take care of itself.[]

@CoastRiderBill I have personally experienced, several times, turning a corner with a light for my direction just to see a person so engrossed in their phone they did not see they still had a red. How many people have been killed in accidents because of cell phones? The list goes on and on and even though talking on phones while driving is outlawed many people still do it. And who is it that tries to stop legislation to curb people's dangerous use of cell phones? The cell phone companies. The phones have literally become an addiction.


I traded in my old flip phone for a smart phone over a year ago and kinda wish I hadn't. I used to make fun of the "Head Downers" I am resisting becoming one. The navigation feature is very nice though. Saves a lot of gasoline, time, frustration and cursing.


Almost hit 3 teens in the wal mart parking lot yesterday,they came out of a vehicle,headed for the store,and immediately face down in the cell phone screens as the walked along,I stopped and waited,no injuries but funny looks when they bumped my running car. Was gonna hit the horn, but they'd probably drop their phones and blame me.....

Mike1947 Level 7 Dec 14, 2018

I can't reply with my phone because it sits uncharged at the bottom of my purse...but, yeah, I agree, but I also think there are a lot of pluses...we just haven't had enough time to set any rules for safe and polite reasons.

I remember when the fax came out...everybody was faxing everyone...then emails...we all sent emails...time will balance things out.


No one can reasonably argue with what you have stated.

jlynn37 Level 8 Dec 14, 2018

I was reluctant for the longest time to stick my cellphone in my pack when I went mountainbiking, but when I found myself doing longer rides by myself, I began carrying it as a safety measure. After awhile I discovered apps, so I added a compass app and an altimeter and had some fun with those. Also, I like to sometimes take pics of where I'm riding.

But, I do understand the aversion; it can seem like an intrusion on one's solitude and nature time to haul those things along.

Condor5 Level 8 Dec 14, 2018

Completely agree with how rude and bad mannered it is to look at your phone when in the company of others. There is no excuse for it. I do find it acceptable, however, if I’m with someone who advises they may need to check incoming texts or calls while we’re together for some valid reason — the kid is home with a baby sitter, a parent is ill, etc.

Bobbyzen Level 7 Dec 14, 2018

"The more tethered we are to our phones, studies show, the harder it is to think deeply, attentively and conceptually..."

That, to me, is the embodiment of the danger of being fixated on smartphones and social media. It causes procrastination, which I suffered for a year, and severe dysfunctionality. There is no shittier feeling, believe me!

Darius77 Level 6 Dec 14, 2018

Your phone has a silent mode that you can engage whenever you want.


I will have to go to the store and ask staff to show me how to turn off the sound.

My phone came with zero instructions. I'm not willing to spend hours trying to figure it out.

@LiterateHiker My goodness... why would you go anywhere? You have the internet. I believe in you.

@LiterateHiker Oh, my. It is really easy. You can turn your ringer off by pushing one switch on the side. You can also manage your alerts via the settings app on your screen. Also available is Airplane Mode which will shut off all calls, etc. You are fighting technology.


I'd say something about this but I'm talking to somebody while I'm looking at my smartphone ?

oldFloyd Level 7 Dec 14, 2018

A carpenter told me years ago: "pretend that you are smarter than the wood."

Use your tools, don't let them use you.


What can you do? Can't change them.

beenthere Level 6 Dec 16, 2018

My phone is smart, so I no longer need to be!


It sounds like you're not letting your smart phone affect your brain or life. I think it is up to us as individuals and as parents to decide (use our minds) how much we let technology affect our lives. I love my smart phone. Like, you, I think the GPS is one of the best aspects of it, but it also replaces a calendar, a thermometer, a watch, a telephone, a calculator (both business and scientific), a map book, a trip to the bank, a notebook, an alarm clock, a camera, a dictionary, a radio, and more. Additionally, it allows me the freedom to do business anywhere and be connected to friends and family anywhere. I think it is amazing. And, like others mentioned, you can turn off all notifications if you don't want to be disturbed. I set my phone to "not bother me" mode from 9:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m. as a rule.

sfvpool Level 7 Dec 14, 2018

It's access to the world in your pocket. It's the same as anything else: how you use it.


Boy, I'd really have to get Alexa configured properly beforehand! Not to mention getting a really small WiFi tablet for notes.

Realistically, most of the people I know aren't local, so how would I talk to them? Skype? I haven't had a land line in decades.

ldheinz Level 7 Dec 18, 2018
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