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Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash.

Smartphones: Social Tool or Social Isolation?

Written by
January 18, 2020

At request of the author, this article has been changed to Anonymous.

Smartphones: Social Tool or Social Isolation?
Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash.

These days, a smartphone allows you to text, watch videos, send emails, play games, and listen to music all at the same time! It sounds like a profound piece of technology that helps people, but what if I were to tell you about the big problem with smartphones? If you’re interested, keep on reading.

Human beings use language to communicate. This differentiates us from all other species. We say “hello” while a dog goes “woof,” and other animals don’t do anything but just look at each other and smile. If you can’t communicate in any language used in your environment, whatever dialects or sub-dialect it may be, then you have no way of communicating with others. Without language, you cannot understand anything. You cannot understand the world. You cannot understand any disciplines and you cannot be understood by others. Phones are taking away people’s ability to have strong written, verbal, and comprehension skills. Here are some examples of texting: “How r u?; Th u!; Cuz im here; Rn and tmro.” Ladies and gentleman, that is not proper English. That does not make any sense. I’ll rewrite properly this illogical messaging on a phone: “How are you?; Thank you!; Because I’m still here; Right now and tomorrow.” I’ve seen this improper communication in text messaging. But I don’t write like this. And if you readers are culpable of writing like this in a text, you can always correct this mistake and write properly. And if you don’t write like this in a text, then have a good day and keep it up.

Phones are obviously damaging our intelligence and communication skills (just look at the above paragraph). Staring at a screen for hours, swiping up and down on what we call social media alone in your room, or being with five other people at a table not talking is not healthy. How is Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and these other things an act of being social? Speaking with others in an engaging manner while looking at each other’s faces is social. Five people sitting at a table texting and staring down at their screens, not talking is not social. Your life is not on a website. Your life is here. Being present with your surroundings and the people around you is important. I’ve seen people at a table not talking to each other and just looking at their phones. I see a mass majority of people glued to their devices while waiting for the Trent Express, heads down, getting on the bus the same way, and sitting for the rest of the bus ride to Trent Bata Library the same way. And not to mention, with headphones in. They are not aware of what’s going on around them. I see people at sports games looking down at their phones when there’s fantastic athleticism happening. I see people walk head down at their phones on the sidewalks and in the halls of schools and malls. Well, if you want to get hit by a car, walk into a pole or a wall, then look down at your phone and do whatever you like on it while walking.

Looking down at phones continues in the classrooms of schools. I’ve been going to Trent since 2015, and I see brainless stuff happen with phones and computers in class. Think: you paid $8000 (or more if you’re an international student) to go to school for a year, and you’re going to go on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube; write a paper for a different class; do a Teacher’s College application or a Master’s program application; and text on your phone – all in class? I’ve been the only person with their hand up when a teacher asks questions to the class – while everybody else is doing all this other nonsense on their phones and computers. I came to class to learn, engage in intellectual conversations, and to better my language capacities with my fellow  classmates and the professor – not with just the professor and I. That is what office hours are for.

On a last note, children of all ages these days are not receiving the linguistic nurturing they need. I see parents looking at their devices while holding their child’s hand when they should be present with their kid. Or, they give their kid a device and no talking happens for hours.

So, rethink about your time spent on your phone, and spend more time being present with life outside of a screen.

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