Smartphones, the disconnected truth.

Angel Foley 

Week 7: March 4, 2018

Government of Canada, Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). “Communications Monitoring Report 2017.” Government of Canada, Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), 9 Nov. 2017, crtc.gc.ca/eng/publications/reports/PolicyMonitoring/2017/index.htm.

The 2017 Communications Monitoring Report, is a government source, which details the trends in the Canadian communications industry. This report details information like, audience measurement, revenues, subscriber data, household expenditures and emerging issues. From 2015-2016, Canadians have started using telecommunications differently than ever before. This report found that, 58% of Canadians are watching TV online. Canadian’s need for access to mobile apps, social media and smartphones is also increasing rapidly. Within the last year, there has been a huge shift in Canadians favouring data usage over their voice services. This report was able to provide informative and relative information for my podcast, which discusses the topic of smartphone use.

Ingrams, Alex. “Mobile Phones, Smartphones, and the Transformation of Civic Behavior through Mobile Information and Connectivity.” Government Information Quarterly, vol. 32, no. 4, 2015, pp. 506–515., doi:10.1016/j.giq.2015.07.007.

This article explains, through technological dimensions, how mobile phones contribute to government administration and civic engagement. In particular, this article’s studying takes place in South Africa, where technology plays a large role in society. The main finding in the article is that, mobile phone use has a positive impact on social capital and civic behaviour. I found this article while searching for smartphone use and how it impacts civic engagement; although it is not Canadian, I still found it insightful and relevant to Canada.

 

Week 6: February 25, 2018

Fullwood, C., Quinn, S., Kaye, L. K., & Redding, C. (2017). My virtual friend: A qualitative analysis of the attitudes and experiences of smartphone users: Implications for smartphone attachment. Computers in Human Behavior, 75(Complete), 347-355. 10.1016/j.chb.2017.05.029.

This article details the results of a few different focus groups regarding their smartphones and how they use them. The researchers looked at UK undergrad students, who owned smartphones. Their findings concluded that smartphones are much more than just devices to call and text on. People are using their smartphones as music players, personal assistants, calculators, GPS and more.This study also analyzed whether or not the focus groups described their phones in materialistic or anthropomorphic terms. The findings were that while people viewed their phones as materialistic, they also made sentimental and “friend” like references to them. The findings of this study compared smartphone dependency to addiction in terms of how people feel in the absence of their phones. Prior to reading this article, I didn’t look at a smartphone in a  anthropomorphic way. I can now use this information for further research in my podcast and explore whether or not people view their smartphones as “friends”, or if they feel a similar attachment. 

Canada, Government of Canada Statistics. “A Portrait of Canadian Youth.” Government of Canada, Statistics Canada, 7 Feb. 2018, www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/11-631-x/11-631-x2018001-eng.htm.

I used this Stats Canada survey to figure out what the statistics of smartphone use looks like, particularly those under the age of 25. The findings are, that youth today are more connected than any other generation. The survey showed that 96% of 15 to 24 year olds own their own smartphones. These studies are consistent regardless of household and income. This survey also shows that nearly half of 16-24 year olds are using the internet to take part in real-time discussions; whereas only 10% of older Canadians are doing so. New technology comes with new challenges; 15% of those aged 15 to 24 have been cyberbullied or stalked in the last 5 years. These statistics are a scary reality. Youth as young as 15 are using their phones consistently. These attachments and dependencies can have negative ramifications for someone of any age, but usually youth are a higher risk.

Week 5: February 11, 2018

Miller, Daniel, et al. “The Future.” How the World Changed Social Media, 1st ed., vol. 1, UCL Press, London, 2016, pp. 205–216. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1g69z35.21.

How the World Changed Social Media, is an insight to social media and how it is used throughout the world. The chapter titled, The Future, specially looks at social media and how it is used to communicate across cultures. The chapter also talks about the growth in photography and visual communication. The rest of the chapter goes on to make predictions about where social media is heading and how our smartphones are part of a “transcending platform”. I enjoy texts like How the World Changed Social Media, because it gives more than one perspective. It illustrates how times have also changed for the better.

Boumosleh, Jocelyne Matar, and Doris Jaalouk. “Depression, Anxiety, and Smartphone Addiction in University Students- A Cross Sectional Study.” Plos One, vol. 12, no. 8, 2017, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0182239.

This article looks at the symptoms of smart phone addiction and whether or not depression or anxiety contribute to smartphone addiction. Through random sampling, the authors surveys 688 undergrad students in order to find about smartphone related variables. The results concluded that anxiety and depression scores are a positive predictor of smartphone addiction. These results coincide with my topic of smartphones and mental health. There is in fact a link with smartphones and depression, which isn’t very surprising. 

Episode Pitch

 

Transcription

It’s Saturday night and after what feels like forever, my friends and I are having a get together. We decide to meet up at one of our houses; grab some wine and pizza and gear up for some gossip, the ideal “girl’s night”. Unfortunately, the night doesn’t go this way. Yes the wine has kicked in and we’re feeling good, but everyone is on their phones. We’re basically all texting each other even though we’re in the same room. There is the occasion where someone speaks, complaining that their boyfriend spends too much time on his phone. Are you rolling your eyes yet?

Do you ever find yourself in a similar situations? where you’re hanging out with friends, family, significant others and they’re just not listening? Are their necks bent, face in their phones? There’s a rising dependency on phones that even the “tech giants” are worried about. Today, it is not uncommon for the average person to have an addiction to their smartphone. The need to be constantly connected via our smartphones, has raised new concerns involving our inability to communicate face-to-face and the rise in mental health issues — especially among teens.

Eric Andrew-Gee’s article in the Globe and Mail, “Your smartphone is making you stupid, antisocial  and unhealthy. So why can't you put it down?”, got me thinking about my own attachment issues with my cellphone. I do find myself annoyed by my constant need to look at my phone. I do feel like my attention span is slowly dissipating. I also go through periods of feeling antisocial.I personally have had relationship issued caused by cellphone use. I want to take Andrew-Gee’s opinion piece and explore questions such as: are our smartphones destroying our social lives and our ability to connect in person? Is our happiness dependent on likes or notifications and how much attention we receive online.

During my episode, I’d like to speak with experts and everyday people, like you and myself, about what these little devices we rely so heavily on our doing to our brain and our psyches. Relationships are being put to new tests, tests that our parents and generations before us haven’t had to deal with. Is it crazy to feel emotional or start arguments over social media? The answer to that has generational differences. I’d like to find out more by interviewing real couples, young and older, say 30s. Maybe even find out what the “baby boomers” think. 

I’d even like to explore what a psychologist might have to say about this generation and our reliance on our phones. Are they affecting more than just our relationships? are they changing our brains? So much has changed in only a few short years. There might not be concrete evidence on this as of yet, but it’s interesting to see where it’s heading. 

 

Week 4: February 4, 2018

Hawi, Nazir S., and Maya Samaha. “Relationships among Smartphone Addiction, Anxiety, and Family Relations.” Behaviour & Information Technology, vol. 36, no. 10, 2017, pp. 1046–1052., doi:10.1080/0144929x.2017.1336254.

This article looks at a study done by Nazier Hawi and Samaha Maya; detailing the direct and indirect correlation between smartphone addiction and family relationships and the correlation between smartphone addiction, anxiety and family relations. The authors used three hypothesis to find three possible outcomes of smartphone addiction. The study included randomly selected students from Lebanon, who then completed a questionnaire based on their smartphone use. The results showed that being a student addicted to your smartphone does not affect the odds of problematic family relations. Although, the study did find that smartphone addiction is indirectly related to a negative impact on family relations via anxiety. I found that this study provided specific insight into a student’s relationship with family based on their smartphone use, as well as anxiety levels. 

Wells, Ira. “Smartphones and the Abdication of Parental Responsibility.” The Globe and Mail, 16 Jan. 2018, www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/smartphones-and-the-abdication-of-parental-responsibility/article37514363/.

Ira Well’s opinion piece, looks at parents and their false sense of obligation that they must provide their child with a smartphone . The article mentions Andrea, a mother worried a phone will replace her daughters face to face interactions. Who despite her own inoculations feels like it is her responsibly to get her one. It’s as if parents today feel a smartphone is a new milestone to consider and what age to do so. A recurring topic that I have been noticing through out my research, is the recent spike in mental health issues. Studies show an obvious pattern linking screen time with higher levels of depressive symptoms/suicide-related outcomes and non-screen activities with lower levels. Schools are also dealing with frequent issues involving smartphones; students are distracted or using their phone for inappropriate behaviour. I’d like to know more about the kids who’s parents don’t fall into the smartphone guilt cycle. Are these kids isolated? Are their relationships better or worse.

Week 3: January 28, 2018

Braff, Danielle. “Your Smartphone May Be Ruining Your Relationships, Even When It's Off.” Chicagotribune.com, 3 May 2017, www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/sc-phone-relationship-family-0307-20170309-story.html.

This article delves into a sensitive topic a lot of us deal with today, Smartphones and relationships. The article briefly goes over a few statistics for how children and significant others feel when a parent/partner’s phone is around; the results are, not the greatest. Ultimately, kids feel ignored or not as important, and couples feel jealousy, distance and depression. It is also stated that your phone is still a problem even when your are not on it, just its presence can illicit negative emotions.As someone who is dealing with this “new-age issue”, I’d like to look more into it as part of my podcast. It would be interesting to talk to a few couples within different age groups and get some perspective.

Times, Melissa HealyLos Angeles. “Study Links Decline in Teenagers' Happiness to Smartphones.” Press Herald, 23 Jan. 2018, www.pressherald.com/2018/01/23/teen-happiness-drop-phone-time-linked/.

Studies find that teens spending time on smartphones either have a negative affect on happiness or can play a positive role on self-esteem. Adolescents who spent less time on non-screen additives had higher psychological well-being and more satisfaction with their lives. It just so happens that as the number of teens who have Smartphones is growing (73 percent own a smartphone), so is the number of unhappy teenagers. This is another potential problem I may research for my podcast. Teenagers these days are facing a whole new set of issues compared to those in previous generations. Today we’re living in a time where bullying is given a more accessible platform. 

Week 2: January 21, 2018

Spicer, Andre. “What Do Smartphones and Cigarettes Have in Common?” CNN, Cable News Network, 9 Jan. 2018, www.cnn.com/2018/01/09/opinions/smartphone-addiction-opinion-spicer/index.html.

In this article, Andre Spencer bluntly compares phone addiction to cigarette addiction. He list the similarities from, the feeling of holding a pack of cigarettes and holding your cellphone, the impact on our daily lives and even the neurological similarities the two elicit in our brains. Spencer ends the article with hope, there is a chance for tech companies to step up and avoid becoming “pariahs” like tobacco firms. This particular article explores more cognitive and psychological theories into how cellphones are ultimately ruining our brains. One of my vignettes will explore cellphone addiction and how it impacts us psychologically. 

Andrew-Gee, Eric. “Your Smartphone Is Making You Stupid, Antisocial and Unhealthy. So Why Can't You Put It down?” The Globe and Mail, 16 Jan. 2018, www.theglobeandmail.com/technology/your-smartphone-is-making-you-stupid/article37511900/.

This Globe and Mail piece is basically a personal broadcast explain why cellphones are so terrible. The author, Eric Andrew-Gee compares our cellphone use to a list of terrible predictions made in the past alluding to a future dystopian-like world. He uses fear mongering tactics like about Smartphone ,“ literally using-billion dollar computers to figure out what to feed you”. It is this particular article that got me thinking about my podcast topic and peaked my interest in further exploring Eric Andrew-Gee’s theories on Smartphones. It will be interesting to look into the possible ways cellphones have helped us evolved, or if they’re just turning our brains into complete mush.