Mobile Phone Dependency Becoming Part of Our Culture

We are always plugged in and aware of news around us  because of 
smart phones and social media.

Smart phones give us the ability to stay updated and post on  Facebook or catch up with world news on the go. Even with  new forms of technology being created, mobile phones and social media still continues to take the world by storm on a daily basis. 

Social media is an amazing tool that can be used to keep in contact with friends and family, and also as a gateway to meeting new people and gaining new opportunities. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Snap Chat and Instagram continue to run our social media world which could possibly contribute to why social media and mobile phone usage is becoming a problem in our society.

Mobile Phone Usage Continues to Cause a Decrease in Face-to-Face Interactions

Social media and mobile phone dependency can be identified when  excessive phone usage causes a decrease in work, affects interpersonal relationships, involves greater mobile phone and social media use than necessary, an unsuccessful reduces in use, and continuous complains from family and friends. A recent study touches on  the issues that arises with social media and mobile phone dependency. Research has shown that during conversations where a mobile phone is introduced, the conversation becomes less fulfilling and the individual involved feels less of a connection with the person that they are with. Real life interactions are becoming less and less frequent because of mobile phones. If you were to observe a group of people spending time together in a public place, a majority of them are on their phones either talking, texting or engaging in social media. The availability of free WiFi services in public areas has allowed more opportunities for us to engaged in social media usage during public outings. Despite this rise in social media and mobile phone usage, there are still those who treasure those face-to-face interactions.

                          A University of Maryland Kinesiology student discusses social media dependency in today's society

Nearly Half of Smart Phone Users Claim to not be able to live without their phone

Nearly half of  United States Smart Phone users claimed to not be able to live without their smartphones. These smartphone users declare that they found their phones to be more helpful and necessary rather than annoying. A study done by The Pew Research Center collected a survey taken by 3,181 Americans (2,188 of them were smart phone users) on their relationship with their smart phone. 70 percent described their smartphones with words like "freedom", 72 percent felt like their smartphone is "connecting" not "distracting" and 92 percent say their smart phones are more "helpful" than "annoying".

                                                                                             Source: Huffington Post               
Though these type of studies are hard to get honest answers from, we can look around and see how dependent most people are on their smart phones. We now depend on our smart phones to remember everything from phone numbers to what we have planned next week. Smart phones are seen more as a convenience more than anything else.

Factors that can contribute to Mobile Phone and Social Networking Site (SNS) Dependency

Although social media has it's uses, not all of them are healthy. Some of the main issues that continue to influence social media and mobile phone users are social comparison, SNS support and sensation seeking.We live in a selfish world where looks and social preservation is deemed important. We (as social network site users) want to put our best face forward for social media.  Many people use social media as a
way to seek validation and acceptance from an online community. Social media gives us a small, skewed view of what a person wants us to see. We don't really see the "real" person, we only see the best parts of their lives. 

Social Comparison: The drive to evaluate one's self often in comparison of others
Perceived SNS Support: Self understanding of the support shown by social media followers
Sensation Seeking: the pursue of sensory pleasure and excitement 

While these factors are true, this does not mean that it applies to everyone. Not everyone handles their social media lifestyle the same way. These factors may not be as applicable to you as they may be to someone else. 

Excessive Social Media and Mobile Phone Usage may lead to dangerous habits

Social media continues to show its importance by giving users the ability to stay connected with the revolving world but, it has also spiked a few alarming habits. Research has found that 70 percent of teenagers ages between 12-17 spend time on social media everyday, which can amount to 17 billion teenagers using social media. It is shown that teenagers who are engaging in daily social media usage are five times more likely to involve themselves in alcohol usage, three times more likely to use tobacco, and twice as likely to use marijuana.  Social media has allowed young teens to be exposed to alcohol and drugs which has contributed to making it possible for these young people to want to try it. Social media has also caused mental health issues in young children, teens and young adults. Easily impressionable young teens have looked to social media as a guide of their self-worth and self-esteem. This media mindset may lead anxiety, depression and even suicidal thoughts. Though we have not concluded if social media truly leads to mental health issues, it can be seen that it plays a major factor in the issue. 

Even though there are negative effects when it comes with social media and our mobile phone usage, this does not change the fact that these tools are important in keeping our society afloat. Many now depend on social media for their news sources and other form of information since it is easier to access and faster to get on-hand. Social media and mobile phones will continue to run society, we just need to learn when to put the phone down.

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