Are Smart Phones ruining our Lives?

Have you heard? Our smart phones are wrecking our lives!!!

Whats that they make our lives more efficient and we can respond to emails and be contacted all the time surely that is a good thing right? The short answer is well NO!

Let me explain where I am coming from with this.

First of all they are making us lazy, some might even go so far as to say stupid. With auto correct or even a emojicon who needs to learn how to spell or correct grammar. Most teenagers I see now would not even pass a simple spelling test and do not even get me started on the grammar!

We all appear to be experts, graduated from the university of Google. Not feeling well google your symptoms and you are bound to find some disease to fit it. Want to know something you google it  but what happened to using our initiative, thinking for ourselves and being creative? Well Pinterest and wikipedia took that area over.

The phones are making us anti social, in the days of social media and email who actually makes the effort to pick up the phone and ring a friend? I remember when kids used to go over to their friends houses and actually talk face to face, now snap chat, Instagram and Facebook have replaced this very basic human interaction. As the social media options increase the number of teenagers diagnosed or suffering with depression increases.

Whether we want to admit it or not that human interaction is something we need, like food and shelter it is necessary for our mental health.

We are constantly seeing what our friends, peers or even complete strangers are doing and comparing ourselves to them. Sadly often making us feel completely inadequate. You share an achievement on Facebook and within minutes you get likes and love from friends but chances are you also get stories of how much better someone else has done. Shattering our sense of achievement in one stroke.

Do you remember the days you would arrange a meeting or lunch with a friend before smart phones? Or phones at all for that matter? You rarely cancelled last minute or spent time waiting, why because people were on time!! Probably because they were not glued to their smart phone!

Even when you do meet up now how many times do you look around you and see the number of people sitting in a bar or restaurant with someone and they are both glued to their phones? Is the art of conversation without texts or emojicons dying?

We are less effective, we can be reached all the time but because of that we have no down time. People have their phones with them constantly and places like work are suffering. Our attention spans are so short and so flooded with stuff all the time concentrating on a task is hard. Lets just say you write for a living, you are sitting on your laptop writing through the course of the day emails ping up, your Facebook notifications come up how many times do you get distracted?

I found that it was so distracting while I was editing my photography I have to turn the wifi off and just crack on with it and only allow myself specific times when I am on a deadline.

We are constantly being advertised to, we think with things like Netflix we miss out on the adverts we had on tv but the truth of there matter is we are bombarded even more so on social media and via email. Have a good sorry out of your email what percentage of your email is something you signed up for and they are trying to get you to buy something somewhere along the line.

We google something like a new handbag and before we know it that handbag is following us around every where in social media and the internet. We have constantly got someone advertising to guys and telling us what is wrong with us and what we need to make it right! When did we become so broken and in need of this stuff? Right around the time smart phones came in I should imagine!

Do you remember when you were kids and you got bored? What did you do? You did things like go to your friends, make something, read, perish the thought if a child actually did not have a device to give them instant entertainment now! I remember TV being seen much the way smart phones are now in the 70’s and how it was making us stupid, seems the trend continues.

Probably the single most dangerous  and concerning reason smart phones are destroying our lives is that with them we are sleeping even less than since the electrical light was invented. BBC programs like Sleepless Britain highlight this. We are zombies and the phones are our masters. With a serious lack of sleep our moods out mental health and our physical health are all deteriorating.

I could be entirely wrong of course and I could of used my google degree to find out some facts and figures for you but as a photographer I spend a large amount of my time watching people to capture them and have done for over two decades and this is just my observations.

I actually think that smart phones are to our kids and teens what drugs used to be. In the eighties cocaine was ruining lives and an addiction that some could just not give up, when was the last time you left your phone or devises for more than an hour or two? Have you ever witnessed the melt down of a teenager who has had their phone taken away?

So what is the answer? I really honestly do not know. We as a family have instilled some ground rules for the phones and devices, things like none in bedrooms and they are plugged in downstairs and left after a certain time so that our brains get time to unwind and we get that all important sleep.

If you have any comments or suggestions I would love to hear them. This is not my usual sort of blog post but is something I feel quite strongly about and decided to share.