Longtime followers of this blogspace, whether, or not in agreement with our view on the subject, are familiar with our eternal, principled opposition to the use of smartphones and ordinary cell phones, as the primary, or exclusive, vehicle for interactive communication (conversation). Ubiquitously, useful for many purposes, the smartphone, nevertheless, has been, for many people (especially, the young), the exclusive resource for conversation. We have long been greatly concerned with the effects of its universal use, supplanting natural, face-to-face and telephone conversation, with the mutual transmission of impersonal digital signals to another’s hand-held small, lighted screen.
It has been our concern, in essence, that the regular assurances of self-affirmance, the observed and recognizable, personal nuance, and the ability to spontaneously and satisfactorily express emphasis and emotion, ought not to have been, foolishly surrendered in exchange for cold, impersonal, digital transmission, often, transmitted and not read until some various time. We have eternally been concerned, lest the relative impersonality and loss of a mutually, recognizable, voice and personality, would, in time, result in feelings of loneliness and personal insularity. As an empirical, fact, no doubt, many members of the younger generation would have precious little, if any, recollection of the rewarding experiences of face-to-face or telephonic social interaction. We would venture to presume, analytically, that the younger generation, as contrasted with their elders, having little or no recollection of, or benefit from, the salubrious practice of natural, personal conversation, logically, would be the most profoundly impacted.
We are of the view, at this point in this essay, that a reprise of our stated views on advanced cell phones and computers in general, would be timely and contextually, useful. While we recognize and laude, the benefits of the ubiquitously, convenient use of computers in improving the quality of life, and the advancement of humankind, we have had serious apprehensions, concerning the exclusive use of digital electronics as an alternative to natural spoken interaction. The impersonality and the loss of the comforting security of familiar, recognizable voices, as well as the benefit of spontaneity, we feel, is an “Orwellian” hindrance, to healthy, interactive communication and personality development.
We sincerely regret to say that our anticipated reservations and fears have been confirmed. Recent research indicates that excessive smartphone use is associated with difficulties in cognitive-emotional regularity, impulsivity, general impairment in cognitive functionality, low self-esteem, shyness and an addiction to social networking. Reportedly, 86% of Americans expend considerable time, constantly checking their devices.
The younger generation, which utilizes the “Smart Phone,” exclusively, as its primary means of social communication, is, as previously stated, the most vulnerable to suffer from uncomfortable feelings of singular insularity and loneliness, by such loss of vitally, desired and needed ratification of one’s identified, self-image in socialization with peers. Those personal, long-held concerns, unhappily, have recently, been found, to be far more than justified. Many researchers, we note, now, draw a direct line between the use of smartphones and social media, and a recent, sudden spike in mental health disorders in children over ten years old. They have reported soaring rates of depression and anxiety and a rather dramatic increase in emergency room visits for childhood psychiatric crises. As reported, suicide rates among adolescents, have horrifically, increased by 53% in twenty years. Organizations from the CDC to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the United States Surgeon General’s Office, all agree that we are in the throes of a veritable, mental health crisis, especially, for young people, ages 10 and older.
There is an evident and incontrovertible, emergent need for programs of educative counseling, on the subject of inter-societal communication. Such programs should include, to the extent reasonably possible, a salutary effort, at the renewed restoration of natural, humanistic, conversation and the diminution of social interaction, by means of computerized, handphones, most especially, and crucially, related to the young.