The more we understand smartphone technology, the more we seem to recognize the potential downsides. After all, if people are experiencing anxiety when their cell rings, there is an issue. No one would dispute that, but it’s important to put technology into context. Like any with advancement, there are pros and cons, and the key is to figure out whether the former outweigh the latter.
It’s difficult to do when people drone on about mobile devices and screen time. Instead, it’s time to take a long, hard look at the impact of phones on society, as there’s no doubt that they have made life better for millions of people worldwide. From that perspective, they can’t be all bad. Sure, cells and tablets have drastically changed our lives, but maybe this isn’t as dramatic as you are led to believe.
If you’re wondering how the effects could be viewed as positive, you’re not alone. With that in mind, here are some of the beneficial consequences of the rising numbers of smartphones across the globe.
The Overall Perception is Healthy
The general public of the world may miss essential details regarding the altruistic nature of mobile devices, which is why studies into the impact of screen time are carried out regularly. Still, the way things make us feel should never be underestimated, not when it’s vital for a person’s overall wellbeing to indulge the hobbies and pastimes they love.
According to research, for instance, there is little correlation between salary and job satisfaction. What does make a difference, inside and outside of the workplace is engagement, and smartphones are everything if not engaging. Not only is this highlighted in the number of hours men and women spend on their devices – the average is almost four hours per day in the US – but via scientific surveys.
Of all the countries asked, the overwhelming majority responded that cell phones have been healthy for them personally. This is across the board, with 82% of Jordanians agreeing with the statement compared to 77% in Mexico. However, Mexico is renowned for its relatively low smartphone take-up.
Therefore, even nations that aren’t as reverent about mobile devices as their global neighbors, still believe the effect on society has been mostly positive. The same goes for almost any state in the world, from India and Kenya to South Africa, Australia, and the UK.
Eco-Friendly Technologies Are Improved with Mobiles
Probably the greatest challenge the planet faces in the next couple of centuries is how humankind strikes a balance between flourishing and taking care of the environment. Currently, we aren’t doing a great job, as carbon emissions are rising, and the average American household has a CO2 footprint equivalent to 45 kg of carbon per square meter.
Energy usage increases in affluent areas as these regions typically account for 25% more CO2. Thankfully, there are techniques to prevent the destruction of the ozone layer, stop coral reefs from dying, and islands from sinking. Of course, the likes of solar panels and wind turbines must fit into modern society to ensure uptake is high, which is where mobile tech comes into play.
For example, field sites and infrastructure are often far from companies’ headquarters. This makes it hard to analyze and evaluate equipment, while making it almost impossible to shut down sites to conserve energy and react to the ever-changing needs of a population. Thanks to mobile technologies, supervisors and technicians can maximize productivity levels to make green energy sources more efficient.
As a result, artificial islands, such as the permanent offshore wind farm find off the coast of Denmark, are expected to power millions of homes remotely. In the case of the Danish, the reach is expected to hit 10 million by the time the island is fully-equipped.
Boredom is Becoming a Thing of the Past
Being bored isn’t often listed as a major concern for society as a whole. Everyone has experienced the sensation – there’s nothing worse than aimlessly trying to find new ways to entertain yourself. Still, it’s not destructive. It’s not as if it does the world, and the people who live in it, any harm.
Or does it? As it happens, this emotion isn’t good for our health. Firstly, it encourages negative thoughts that can lead to harmful outcomes. One study shows that people left in a room with just their thoughts preferred to shock themselves with electricity rather than put up with the boredom.
Other research points to the effects that boredom has concerning healthy and safe lifestyle choices. Bored people are scientifically-proven to perform poorly in education, have low attentiveness, and put in less effort than their engaged counterparts. As a result, depression and anxiety can be side-effects, as can bingeing.
Studies illustrate the need to remain entertained to negate these negative outcomes, and smartphones offer different avenues depending on our personal preferences. For instance, music and film-lovers can use apps such as Spotify and Netflix to keep up with the latest releases to de-stress and relieve the tension that comes with modern life.
Gamers, on the other hand, have a wealth of methods at their disposal. The release of Microsoft’s xCloud means titles are available on Android devices, and may soon come to Apple phones, too. Alternatively, online casino offerings such as slot machines are taking society by storm and becoming a significant part of entertainment culture. For example, online slots can be themed around pop-culture, historical eras, or even familiar fictional characters. There are also benefits that have come with the digitalization of the industry, such as the ability to play for free, the convenience of playing from home, and the flexibility to swap games with the click of a button.
With entertainment such as the above accessible on smartphones, boredom, and the negative side effects that come with it, can be quelled with the touch of a button.
The Corporate Sector is Transforming
For many, the corporate sector hasn’t worked for them for a long time. The people in charge, typically men and women from wealthy, privileged backgrounds, dictate how the masses live their lives, often implying they should do everything for the cause. Millions of people have put up with fake pleas from the rich for decades, yet mobile technologies are ensuring they don’t fall on deaf ears.
The most recent change is the move towards remote working. It’s a small feature of a healthy lifestyle, but a balance between home and the office is a must for anyone who wants to lead a fulfilling existence. In the past, bosses have been reluctant to give up their leverage, only awarding the perk to the “most worthy”. As a result, only 9.4 million employees worked from home globally in 2010.
A decade later, almost 50% of the UK workforce, which is as many workers as the 2010 average, were projected to shun the office. In the United States, the working-remotely economy accounted for twice as many people, changing the way the country works. Mobile technology has been at the forefront of the revolution as it allows a seamless connection between employer and employee.
Therefore, people can carry out their responsibilities as effectively from their living room or a coffee shop as if they were in a formal workplace. Indeed, it’s better for many workers, in many ways, as research by Stanford highlighted a 13% increase in output for remote team members due to a quieter environment and fewer sick days.
One thing is for certain – smartphones have altered society and culture irreparably in the last couple of decades. Yet, this doesn’t mean the alterations are bad. If anything, the increased flexibility mobile devices provide due to better connectivity makes it wrong to suggest phones and tablets have only been harmful. In the context of the positive effects, several have been, and continue to be, healthy for us.
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