The relationship between people and smartphones: A Culture of Disconnection and Distraction

by Taylor

Smartphones offer applications to help manage almost every aspect of life, leading to increased personal efficiency and communication. However, with this constant connection comes disconnection. The invention and rising popularity of the smartphone has completely transformed our culture of socialization and interaction. Ironically, while the smartphone enables us to engage in numerous conversations with many different people at once, it takes us out of the present moment, lowering the quality of real-life in-person interactions with others.

An Anthropologist using symbolic and interpretive anthropology would probably focus on the symbolic meaning of using an iPhone while having a conversation in context of the culture they are studying, in this case, the culture within the United States. In order to study the symbolic meaning, an anthropologist may chose to conduct a study of the meaning individuals place behind multitasking on an iPhone while engaging in a face-to-face conversation. One example of this is a naturalistic field experiment conducted by Virginia Tech in which 100 people were randomly assigned to discuss a topic of their choosing with someone else. The individuals were observed during the course of a 10- minute conversation, during which the anthropologist noted whether either person used a smartphone. The study showed that conversations in the absence of mobile technologies were significantly superior compared to those had in the presence of a mobile device, regardless of any other variable such as age, gender and mood. People who had conversations in the absence of smartphones reported higher levels of empathetic concern, while those whose partners used a phone said that their interaction seemed less friendly and more insincere.[1]

An anthropologist using symbolic and interpretive anthropology could look at this study and say that while the smartphone is a material object, it holds significant meaning. They may conclude that in our culture using a smart phone during a conversation is a social custom, however its symbolic interpretation directly affects relationships on an individual level and thus slowly transforming the nature of socialization within the U.S.

Additionally, an anthropologist using culture and personality theory would look at how the prevalence of smartphones in our culture is causing a pattern in the behavior of individuals. In the U.S., 71% of Americans own smart phones. This number illustrates our cultures dependency and value regarding technology and media. A cultural personality anthropologist would look at how this value has affected learned behaviors of younger generations. In an article published by The Telegraph, correspondents reported that young people are seemingly more addicted to their smartphones than older generations. The article looked at a study that asked students to go without a smartphone or any other media for 24 hours and monitored their feelings. The results showed that 50 percent of students failed to go the full 24 hours and everyone in the study claimed to have suffered from a variety of symptoms such as feelings of anxiety, heart palpitations, and sensations of phantom limb.[2]

Moving forward it is important to acknowledge that while useful, smartphones can also damage personal relationships and alter the way we interact as a society. As the phenomena for smartphones only continues to grow, it is safe to hypothesize that many of our cultures values will continue to change as our society becomes more dependent on technology.

[1] Is a citation of the article; “The iPhone Effect: The Quality of In-Person Social Interactions in the Presence of Mobile Devices.” Virginia Tech, Alexandria, USA

[2] Is a citation of the article “Are younger generations addicted to their phones?” by The Telegraph.uk: (study)”The World Unplugged project.” By Richard Alleyne

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53 Responses to The relationship between people and smartphones: A Culture of Disconnection and Distraction

  1. Nicholas Paulin says:

    Taylor

    I really enjoyed reading your cultural and personality theory part of your essay. I completely agree with the fact that Americans are addicted and dependent on their smartphones. It is really quite sad to see how much the younger generation has been consumed by their phones, its definitely not healthy as you said about the feelings they would get from not being able to use their media devices. This is a very debated topic and I really feel like you had great examples furthering your point as an anthropologist and your opinion about this topic. A question I have for you would be, Knowing all of the positives that smart phones can also do for people, was it tough to pick a side on whether you believed the issue to be a positive or negative one?

  2. Anne Poirot says:

    Although I completely agree with the statement that people are generally more engaged and sincere without the distraction of smartphones, I would question a few aspects of the cited study. For example, what constitutes a “superior” conversation? Also, was the experiment in any way a blinded study? I feel like the participants might have been expecting a certain outcome and conformed to that. In any case, I agree that smartphones have created a cultural sense of dependency which seems to be a pretty hard habit to break for many people!

  3. Garrett Owen says:

    I feel that this article is hits the nail on the head when it comes to discussing the very real sickness of media and tech addiction. Like others, I was confused when I encountered the word “superior”. However, you later specified that superior meant emphasizing on empathy and sincerity. Both of your anthropology methods were great examples! Also, your use of sources was great. I was pretty freaked out to learn that heart palpitations is a side effect of not being with any tech or media…

  4. Elizabeth Williamson says:

    Overall I really enjoyed reading your perspective on the smart phone craze. I thought that your use of outside studies helped support your use of theory and connected us to actual groups of people versus the umbrella term for anyone who uses a smartphone. I do have difficulty with generalizing the use of smart phones during a conversation as a “social custom”. I believe that we have just grown desensitized to the affect that our disconnect has on others. Another way of phrasing this so it does not seem like a finite new custom in the U.S. is by saying that it has become socially acceptable, in many cases, to use a smartphone while engaging in conversation.

  5. Laura Hiserodt says:

    I was disturbed by the fact that I checked my smartphone three times while reading this essay. the connection to younger generations and their smartphones was very accurate, even my brother who is only six years younger than I am uses his social media device almost 24-7 and thus is very disconnected from his family, and even his peers. The fact that 50% of people in the 24 hour experiment couldn’t even finish it successfully is terrifying. I thoroughly enjoyed your essay and found it not only interesting and well written but eye opening as well. The way we use our smartphones is almost as a defense mechanism: I find myself pulling out my phone every time I’m alone, almost in attempt to be seen as less alone? The growing popularity of social media is on an upward track and it is reaching a point of irreversibility- I just hope the future generations don’t lose touch completely.

    • Noemi Olivas says:

      I completely agree with your statement about the use of technology to feel “less alone.” I believe there are many people who use technology as a fallback mechanism. It’s something we can rely on when the presence of current company is lacking or simply doesn’t feel like enough. My little sister, for example, is more comfortable using social media as a way to emotionally express herself, when she doesn’t feel like having a conversation face to face. I would like to see the culture and personality theory segment of this essay further expanded with thoughts on how the youth who has grown up surrounded by this technology is developing new social behaviors as a result of it.

  6. Alexis Bush says:

    I really enjoyed reading your essay and I do agree that the younger generations in particular, are especially too addicted to smartphone use. I can relate to this and the symptoms stated regarding when kids don’t have their phones. On days when I don’t have my phone, I have felt particularly anxious. You state smartphones have decreased the empathy in conversations and conversations without smartphones are reigned “superior.” I ask the question of: what is similar to this smartphone problem in other countries? What, other than smartphones, cause the same problems in conversation, in other countries?

  7. Madison Arata says:

    The first thing to catch my attention about your essay was the title, when I read it I knew immediately that I would be able to relate. I agree with your standpoint about technology taking over. Once, I went on a trip out of the country and could therefore not have my instagram, twitter, snapchat, etc. You are correct at first there is mad anxiety because you feel disconnected with the world. However, by mid week you adjust and learn to enjoy the people and environment surrounding you. Although your statement that society is becoming more dependent is true, there are still countries that do not rely on technology as much, giving hope that americans can still put their smart phones and engage in those genuine conversations more often.

  8. Cierra Russ says:

    I completely agree with this point. How often is the image of a group of individuals all out to dinner, but all of them on their respective devices, seen? Too often is the answer. It’s as if in trying to forge these connections via social media, texting, etc., we lose the opportunity for REAL social interaction that is literally right in front of us. We may know how to create the image of who we want to be through our smartphones, but we don’t really know what it means to be social in a real life setting.

    Furthermore, another idea that has to do with this topic is that while we believe we are making more connections to people through our smartphones, are we making real, genuine connection? Often times social media forces us into the idea of quantity of friends, of “likes,” rather than quality of friends. We obsess over personal promotion instead of finding deep meaning through real-time conversation and relationships, leaving us feeling lonely. Through trying to be more social, we lose the idea of what this even means.
    An interesting clip relating to this topic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6Bkr_udado

  9. Connor Johnstone says:

    I was eager to reply to this very well written paper because I recently dealt with the idea of how technology affects our culture and how we socialize in another class. It’s no secret that our society is driven by technology, some might even say that we are obsessed with it. It’s almost impossible to walk down the street and not see one person using some form of technology. I chose to not use technology for one hour at my house just to see what it was like, just like the people you talked about in the experiment you mentioned from the Telegraph. It was a lot harder than I thought to not use technology at my house because it is literally everywhere, the T.V., game consoles, laptops and tablets, and especially my phone. I thought I would occupy this hour of technology free time by doing homework. I got done with far more reading than I ever had in that hour with zero technology than I almost always do when I’m surrounded by technology. I’m glad you looked into this as your topic because it is something I notice everyday, people glued to screens, and it is rude and it is the reason why we are becoming less cultured today I believe.

  10. maliaharmony says:

    Taylor-
    Overall, I really thought it was clever how you implemented a relevant scientific research study to anthropological theory and the ways in which you connected the two together. You did a wonderful job reflecting upon our culture’s use of smartphones through the symbolic anthropological theory and the effects this technology has had on us as a whole, and pointing out through the theory that this technology has gradually transformed into a social custom that alters the way we interact in our daily lives. Lots of informative and interesting facts! Awesome read 🙂

  11. Lily Mindel says:

    Taylor,
    I really enjoyed reading your essay! I thought all your facts were really compelling. There was one sentence that stood out to me the most which was when you said that smartphones “lower the quality of real-life in-person interactions with others”. I do not necessarily agree with this because I think it all depends on who you are as a person. I think it could actually enhance someones interaction with others for example, there could be an article or a picture that caught your attention and someone else’s that could spark a common interest which could lead to a great conversation. Overall though I thought you had a great argument and your conclusion really ended your essay making me think!
    Great Job

  12. Kirsten Holm says:

    It is interesting how modern technologies can have an impact on human behavior as well as culture. But what I wonder is, what about modern media doing to our lifestyles? Things like snapchat and instagram are really taking the world-and America especially- by storm. Do these means of communication actually distance us from people? Also another question to be raised, with mediums like texting and email, are people becoming less efficient in speaking publicly? Anyway, Taylor, I’d like to say you did a great job on your essay! Congrats on making it to the website, you deserve it!

  13. Maya Heath says:

    I LOVE this article! I think it really allows people to relate to it because we as teens and young adults have huge connections to our phones. I think it’s so interesting that one object can impact someone is such a big way and change our culture. I definitely can see how this could easily be linked to anthropology and why you used it! I agree with Kirsten’s question about how texting could affect people’s public speaking. I think that would really be a great thing to look into to see how year by year being on a smartphone can affect our daily lives.

  14. Gillian Davenport says:

    I found this essay especially relevant and interesting. I really liked your use of and anthropological study to support your point. I knew that the current generation was dependent on technology, although the extent of the addiction was shocking. I had no idea that time away from one’s smartphone could induce heart palpitations! I would be interested to see how this affected family relationships, and customs. What specific cultural values and customs have been adapted, influenced, or changed all together due to the need for and obsession with technology? I would also be interested to see the impact that technology has had on older generations, that haven’t grown up surrounded by devices, but now are an integral part of their environment.

  15. Connor McKenzie says:

    The execution of the ideas in the paper were done very well. Your use of theory (particularly the culture-personality theory, one that I have not seen much of in the papers) and outside sources was done very well and provided a compelling argument for your case against the smartphone “addiction” that many believe is prevalent in our society these days. While I agree that many of the cultural phenomena surrounding the constant use of our smartphones in recent times are behaviors that need to be diminished, the prevalence of of smartphones and increasing involvement of technology in our lives is something that can not, and should not be avoided. The Boasian theory of anthropology would say that society produces individuals, and that cultures are the result of the history of that culture. In this respect, the use (and even the development) of smartphones largely relates back to the history of our increasingly globalized culture. Historically, the modern relationship to our phones can be related to how families used to huddle around the radio whenever a broadcast came on, or even when getting the daily paper was one of the high points of someones day. Dependency on technology for information about the world is not a new thing, smartphones are just a more realized form of these older devices. So while the fidelity of the average conversation may decline as technology evolves (if those studies hold true), smartphones can make up for it by helping to create new relations and conversations on a global scale

  16. Emma Metz says:

    I found your essay very interesting and relevant. Our generation uses their smart phones more and more in our everyday life and it I think we all need to take a step back and reflect on how this technology and cultural symbol is changing the way we communicate and act. I had just read an article in the New York Times called, “Stop Googling. Let’s Talk” which mentioned the lack of empathy among college students since 2000. We have less conversations were we hold eye contact and are fully present and allow ourselves to be vulnerable.

  17. Leah Hilleman says:

    I really enjoyed reading your essay, especially because this topic is extremely prominent in today’s society. I believe that technology has completely consumed our lives to the point where it is hard to maintain a conversation with someone even though they are standing right next to you. I never could have imagined that our dependency was so extensive that we experience anxiety if we are apart from cell phones. It makes me wonder what would happen to the world if all cell phones in the world stopped working. How would our society react to such a drastic change?

  18. Anna Bockhaus says:

    Your essay was very interesting and easy to read. I liked how, in the second paragraph, you explain how an anthropologist would approach a study of how individuals associated symbolic meaning to smartphones and then go on to outline an actual study. All your conclusions were backed up with research from these studies. In addition, you took these studies and related them to real-world situations, and then how an anthropologist would interpret the data. Nicely done!

  19. Griffin Kauvar says:

    The point you make in your introductory paragraph regrading how smart phones allow us to engage in numerous conversations with many different people however take us out of the moment in real life interactions is extremely relevant. As demonstrated by the studies you cited describing how those who used smartphones during a conversation exhibited a less superior quality of conversation then those who didn’t succinctly demonstrates the immense power these devices have in our lives now. That being said however, I am concerned with exactly how the study quantified the quality of conversation. What exactly is a “superior” conversation or constitutes such? In spite of this your article and the studies you cited really get at the idea of quantity over quality and how our lives are increasingly being dictated by technology and other non-human mediums. Nice job!

  20. Jona Block says:

    The prevalence of smart phones in our society is a really interesting issue. They provide so many benefits, but we need to look at the drawbacks of their use as well. When we use our smart phones, it removes us from the moment and acts as an escape. We’re dependent on our phones because they provide us with so many valuable tools. Some researchers have argued that our smart phones are becoming an extension of our bodies and not just a tool that we use. I agree with what you said about symbolic anthropology. The phone has transcended what it used to be and has gained a whole new meaning in our culture.

  21. Kendall Abady says:

    Great essay! I think the introduction is great and really gets the readers into the essay. I especially love the paragraph about the “Anthropologist using symbolic and interpretive anthropology”. I think that it is very interesting and extremely relevant to our generation. I think that adding the statistics and studies on smartphones in your essay provides great evidence and gives the readers a good sense of the subject and the severity of the “addiction”. I think that this is a really interesting topic and one that people do not always discuss. You did a really great job of presenting the issue and explaining how the different anthropological theories apply.

  22. Emily Bacher says:

    I really enjoyed learning about the first study but I would like to have known more specifics about the types of conversations that were discussed. I also really liked the study done on people who went without their cell phones for 24 hours. It was interesting to read about the physical symptoms they experienced when they did not have their phone.However, I would like to know if there is a difference in the reaction of not having a smart phone for 24 in different age groups.

  23. Anna Sweitzer says:

    Taylor

    I found your essay very intriguing because I too agree with this phenomenon that with smartphones and technology comes disconnection. You assert your argument / main point right away and the topic is extremely relevant to how societies live today. You do a great job connecting your topic to the different anthropological perspectives. Your conclusion is quite vague and makes me wonder, in what ways do you think our cultural values will change? I wish there was more to this essay! Great job!

  24. I thought this piece was really interesting, I wrote an essay for a class last year on the addiction to cell phones. It’s especially interesting because though a phone is a non-human object, it almost becomes an extension of our bodies with how much the American public values cell phones and the instant gratification technology they offer. I wonder how you think culture and personality would relate to this topic. Do you think that cell phones are such a part of society because it is the culture we grow up in, or are they so necessary with what they offer that they would find their way into society no matter what?

  25. Emily Lane says:

    The topic of this essay was very thought-provoking. I can agree that our American culture is often one of “Disconnection and Distraction”. Smart phones are deeply ingrained into our culture, even for people that do not have one. Almost every one I know has a smart phone and is constantly using it, I’ve even noticed myself becoming slightly addicted to my smart phone. Whenever I walk to class, a good majority of the people I see are looking down at their phones. The smart phone is a huge symbol of American culture. I really liked how you included the results of studies done in your essay, and I was shocked to read that students going without their phones and media for 24 hours experienced heart palpitations and sensations of a phantom limb.

  26. I like your analysis of people’s addictive relationships to smartphones in relation to the culture and personality school of anthropological thought. I think growing up with constant attachment to technology produces different kinds of people than, say, the foundations that have produced our generation like drinking from hoses and playing outside instead of playing Angry Birds all day. I have seen stay-at-home mothers who are constantly busy and stressed resort to buying their five-year-olds iPads to provide them some occupation throughout the day, and I have seen stay-at-home mothers who chose to abstain from overloading their children with technology, and, I have to be honest here, I approve of the latter form of parenting over the former. Technology strengthens our access to information and magnifies our abilities to communicate around the world, but learning in other ways strengthens our brains and makes us more relatable people. Nice essay!

  27. sophiesquire says:

    This is a very interesting and important essay in reference to todays society. You’re right, smartphones are smart and they allow us to connect with others and can be very helpful in almost any situation. But, Americans obsession with smartphones throughout the past decade has become a little too intense. By intense I mean that we have become disconnected from one another due to the constant texting, emailing, snapchatting, tweeting, etc going on even throughout conversations. Although I agree that the amount of smartphone use among Americans is very unfortunate and socially destructive, I myself can relate to the obsession. This essay has definetly caused me to rethink my excessive iPhone usage.

    • Haley Pflum says:

      I feel the same way. It is a very relatable post because it is so relevant to today’s culture. While smart phones in a way lessen the distance between people geographically, it can create distance between people emotionally. A lot of people say it is easier for them to talk to people and express their emotions over texting than it is on one to one in person contact. As a result of the technological advancements, our present society would be place on the most civilized end of the evolutionary scale. Maybe if there was a scale rating the quality of social interactions and human relationships it wouldn’t be as far to the civilized side.

  28. Thomas Bartlomiejczuk says:

    I enjoyed this paper because of its relevancy to me and the world around me. I do heartily agree that it does lessen the interactions between people when someone, lets say for example, pulls out their phone to check Facebook, while having a conversation.

    It seems that in both body paragraphs you did not put a conclusion or analysis of your own after you cited the studies. You set up the quote, cited the studies, but then did not tie it back in with the cultural theory through analysis or conclusion of your own. As a result it seems like your body paragraphs could have been clearer with how the studies related to a Symbolic and Interpretive and Culture and Personality theory, so you could have done more to make that clearer in my opinion. However I understand all too well how difficult it is to write with, what I consider to be, such a restricting word count limit. Taking the word limit into consideration, and that you still managed to cite the two studies, you’ve done an excellent job.

  29. Colman Garthwaite says:

    I really enjoyed this paper because I could relate to it very easily since it is something that i see every day. The smartphone culture throughout the US is slightly disturbing. Whats even more disturbing is that I notice my self contributing to it all the time. I really enjoyed how you include facts from other articles and studies in your essay. I think that it made it much easier for me to really see the effect of smartphones on face to face interactions. I also like how you talked about the meaning of a cellphone. Its weird how we can be so connected to an object but as soon as a new one comes out we get rid of it right way. In this way I think cellphones are a way to show status. People want to have the newest one in order to display how much cooler it is than the previous version.

  30. Colin Mulligan says:

    This essay was very interesting, even slightly daunting. Though this topic is very relatable to me (and seemingly most of us in this generation), your evidence for the decrease in conversation ability when using smartphones as well as the addiction to phones surprised me. Your argument is compelling, and I particularly liked how you related smartphones to a symbol of this declining face-to-face social interaction using symbolic anthropology.

  31. Emma Schilling says:

    This is a very relatable topic that I think needs to be expressed and taken seriously because it is only getting worse! I completely believe that the conversations had without smart phones are superior and more in depth, not just in the experiment, but every day life. It’s scary to watch our culture rely on technology so much, and I definitely catch myself being very dependent on it. What do you think generations to come will experience with technology and will our dependence on it just become stronger if we don’t act now?

  32. Jevan Yamamoto says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this article, however this is a conversation that has popped up numerous times on various websites and television, yet people still continue to do the same thing with their smartphones, including me. I believe until someone offers a solution that the majority of people from all cultures could use as an alternative, we will continue down the same path of using smartphones excessively. In the end, the article is one that makes the reader look at his/her actions from a different perspective and using an outside source definitely validated your argument on smartphones, which overall was very well-written.

  33. Marin Anderson says:

    Smartphones certainly play a LARGE role in society/culture in 1st world countries such as the United States. It’s honestly scary how much as changed just within the last decade as we grow more and more dependent on technology. I find myself more comfortable talking on the phone with someone than I do talking face to face, especially if we are texting. However, I do feel more connected and involved when I am having a face to face conversation. This is probably why it’s bad to break up with someone over text.

  34. Dillon Ragar (Rec. 13) says:

    This article brings up some very good questions, but I would love to see a bit more thorough research done on the topic. What do they define as “superior” conversations? Also, the fact that younger people are more addicted to phones than older people is potentially misleading given that young people use phones more than older people. Perhaps people that are previously inclined to be anti-social or hold “inferior” conversations are those most susceptible to using their phones at much higher rates than others. Either way, the way we interact with new technology is a very important area of study, and this paper summarizes well the difficulties we can encounter when technology changes our culture.

  35. azka4776 says:

    I agree with your statements about smart phones impacting the way we, Americans, socially interact. I feel that an important point that could have been made is Class Bias and how we relate material objects, like smart phones to one’s class and also one’s intelligence. There is a language and culture that has developed around those who have smart phones and those who do not have access or means of obtaining a smart phone are left out of those spaces. Technological intelligence is linked to class and intelligence in general. As you cited in your essay, “71% of American own smart phones”, so that means the minority that does not, is often culturally ostracized from that fast growing part of American society.

  36. Max Liebers says:

    Great idea for a topic. It’s such a colossal issue in our country that goes overlooked everyday because there’s not much to do about it. People are going to use their phones whether or not they think it decreases quality of real human interaction and connection. Whether we like it or not, smartphones are here to stay. People truly rely on them for work and pretty much every aspect of life. Essays with topics like this really make you nervous about the future. I see my little brother and his friends on Instagram and want to cry. Anyways, I really liked this article and great use of the theories. Nice job.

  37. Patrick Torres says:

    I personally found this essay intriguing as I too have noticed affects of the smartphone on today’s society. The part of this piece that interested me the most was the author’s reporting on culture and personality theory, specifically the portion about the attempted 24 hour withdrawal. As somebody who uses their phone frequently, I will be the first to admit that going x amount of time without using a phone can spark anxiety, partially due to the fact that people use their smartphones to push away their problems by tweeting, talking to friends, or going on Instagram. This piece does a great job of explaining why smartphones are quickly damaging the value of face to face interaction.

  38. Marissa Marino says:

    The different theoretical approaches were very well though out. Like you mentioned in your essay, generational gaps with the use of technology is very prominent. I’ve notice this in my personal experience with even riding the bus home and seeing middle schoolers with eyes glued to their phones. It’s sad to think how nowadays anyone under thirty has this almost “inherited doom” in regards for the likelihood of being addicted to their smartphone. I’m curious to also see how mental illness such as depression factors in youth development. Smartphones make us more able to link us with other individuals, but in turn does it actually make us feel more isolated?

  39. Bianca Prioletti says:

    Hey, great paper. In general I definitely see my smartphone as something that disconnects me from the reality I want to be in, and I use it mostly to listen to music and take photos. I find that people tend to actually obsess over documenting moments with their smartphones, taking a photo of a view or a video of a song at a concert, looking through their screens to experience the moment rather than completely immersing themselves in the present sans cellular device. I read Dale’s post, “Music: How A Family Can Be Formed By A Common Enjoyment” and wanted to relate his topic to yours. Using a smartphone for community on social media unites people in a virtual way, differing from face to face communication in person. I wonder what role smartphones play at concerts to distract and divide people, unite them, or both.

  40. Carissa Mann says:

    I really enjoyed reading your essay as the topic of smartphone dependence is so prevalent in our society today. I can personally relate to the results that state that after being separated from one’s smartphone they experience “anxiety, heart palpitations, and sensations of phantom limb.” I was curious however, if the article explained how they determined whether the conversation was “superior” or not. Your symbolic and interpretive anthropology analysis was very thorough and showed many different points on how smartphone dependency relates back to this anthropological theme.

  41. Rebecca Goss says:

    While I agree that smartphones can sometimes hinder meaningful interaction, I would argue that technology has brought humanity closer. I more identify with the viewpoint of Jason Silva (Philosopher/ Futurist) who states that technology gets rid of the limitations of time, space, and distance and allows us to communicate with individuals we may not have been able to or at the frequency at which we enjoy if modern communication technologies did not exist.

  42. Danielle Pourier says:

    I enjoyed and agreed with your essay. At the beginning you touched on the benefits of smart phones in comparison to the cons. I think it would’ve been interesting to further elaborate on what perks come along with smart phones, if they did or did not outweigh the down sides, and what different types of anthropologists would agree or disagree. For example, culture and personality anthropologists could be in favor that smart phones are beneficial, as they connect people who normally wouldn’t. This could affect society by helping growth in all fields and promoting competitive nature to expand knowledge and share knowledge.

  43. Wyatt Svarczkopf says:

    Building off of what people have said concerning the study, do you think conducting a new study that is purely based on audio would help? Separating the people with a barrier, etc. might provide a testable hypothesis that is more free of other influencing factors. One of the beautiful things about language, communication is roughly 7% words, meaning body language and facial expression must factor in as well. I’m curious about what other studies you think should be done in order to make a more complete result. Overall, great essay!

  44. Elise Tomasian says:

    This essay has made a point that I find incredibly relevant to my life. Growing up, my parents never allowed me to have or use my cell phone at the dinner table or else I would be asked to leave without finishing my meal. To my parents, using my phone during our family meals was the same as blatantly ignoring real relationships and life in the present moment. At the time, I viewed this rule as an annoyance, that my parents did not quite understand how quickly others of my age expected me to communicate with them. Waiting the hour or so dinner usually lasted was an almost painful process some nights because I was so eager to respond to a text or read an email. Today I am much more aware of why my parents created this rule. Throughout my day, I see so many people with their faces glued to their phones, ignoring reality and opting for some website or virtual conversation. I have seen people walk out in front of oncoming traffic because they were too distracted by their devices and I have seen couples on “dates” in which both people are staring at their phones. I have noticed myself when I do not feel comfortable to actually speak with a physical person I have delved into the distractions my phone offers. Real conversation skills are being lost because people have become accustomed to hiding behind screens and substituting devices for real human interaction. I have seen parents irritatedly thrust an iPad into the hands of a fussy toddler in the hopes that the child would cease his or her bad behavior. I once heard a story that a little girl around the age of four was given a physical book and did not know how to turn the pages properly; she could only swipe with her index finger. I believe it was Albert Einstein that once said that he “feared the day that technology would replace human interaction” and it’s sad to realize that that day has come.

  45. Cole Von Feldt says:

    This was a super well written essay and honestly is so eye opening to how relevant it is to my own personal life. What I took the most from your article is that with smartphones becoming more and more updated and specialized to make your individual personal life easier it follows with the serious consequence of less and less of a team work and social aspect where you need to physically speak to someone or work on a project together, following the basic idea of “the anti social network” theory. The improvement of smartphones and technology builds more and more towards being independent towards everyone but your smartphone. It seems like we really are growing more and more cold and insincere where our phones are beginning to become an actual part of our hand where it is already second nature and symbolically becoming where it is much more comforting to have the phone and see whats happening everywhere except your own present life than have your closest friends and family around you to keep your mind happy and occupied. This was an amazing discussion article, and really was entertaining to read and comment on.

  46. Jack Seaton says:

    Nothing makes me angrier than when you are out with friends and everyone is on their phones, either texting, googling or playing games and not interacting in conversation with the people around you. This essay is very well written with a good point. With the improvement in technology we can accomplish so many more great things but we should not let it take us out of what we are doing in social situations.

  47. Patrick Ingram says:

    I really enjoyed reading your post. I thought you made very strong points in defense of your topic. The most interesting part for me was the information on “withdraw” from smart phones. I know we are included when they say younger generations can’t go without their phones, but I’ve noticed even a difference in me and my younger siblings who are much more addicted to their phones. Anyway this is a super important issue and your did a wonderful job!

  48. In my essay, I wrote on the same topic and agree a lot with your take on our addiction to our smartphones. I thought it was really interesting when you discussed the separation anxiety people get when they are without their smartphones. Sadly, I see where they’re coming from, as I use my smartphone and many applications daily to make my life easier and entertain myself when I’m bored.

  49. Makayla Tierney says:

    It’s interesting that only 71% of the US has a smartphone, I know you were pointing out how large that number is, but to me it came as a surprise since my perception was that almost every one of us owned one at this point. I’m assuming that in our generation and in younger ones, almost everyone does own a smartphone. In your culture and personality argument, it is very interesting and scary to think that the participants in the study were suffering from mental, emotional and physical withdrawal from our smartphones. It really reveals how addicted and dependent we are on these devices. Your symbolic and interpretive section of the essay confused me a little, and it wouldn’t be a theory I would chose to analyze because it is a more difficult one.

  50. Kevin Kuptz says:

    The experimental evidence makes your argument very strong. Without them your arguments would have still been very valid, and the topic as interesting as it is relevant. There are very few people in the professional world who do not have a phone, and the majority of those people have a smartphone. This constant distraction is a topic I would love to read about further, as far as the effect on learning and memory, and how it alters our perception of our daily routine.

  51. Chandler Bettis says:

    I really enjoyed the topic you picked because i believe it to be very prevalent in our culture today and even more our generation. Many of us can’t name more than a handful of days we have gone without technology if that. We have become consumed and addicted and in some circumstances is taking away from our lives and our ability to live fully in the moment. While some comments argue that technology is bringing us closer I see it completely the opposite way and I really like how your essay exemplifies this with the social test you mention. If you wanted to research more and really get in depth with this topic I think there are many ways you can explore deeper and include multiple sides just to really round out your argument.

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