L: The iPhone turned 10 years old on June 29. It’s hard to believe that we’ve only had smartphones in the mainstream for only a decade. It feels like our pocket-sized computers have been around forever. Smartphones really have changed how we use the internet and interact with the world.
J: Sometimes it’s really helpful, like when I need directions, but sometimes I wonder how negatively smartphones have affected behavioral patterns.
L: There’s good and bad to everything. I find it ironic that when my family goes out to dinner, it’s my parents that are much more glued to their smartphones than anyone at the table. It’s not just millennials that are having a hard time pulling away. The smartphone is probably one of the most influential inventions in recent years. Everyone wants in on it.
My 57-year-old father takes more selfies than the average teenage girl.
J: My 57-year-old father takes more selfies than the average teenage girl. I think it’s more the inability to use smart phones in a balanced manner than the actual phone. Just like some people believe some places you just don’t talk religion or politics, there are some places you don’t need to have your phone out.
L: I would agree there. I feel like people talking about smartphones or new technology as the downfall of society is going a little too far. It’s just a new addicting technology and so a lot of social norms surrounding it haven’t really been cemented. Society as a whole doesn’t really change too much within a decade even with the rapid-fire pace of technological development. I feel like most people will say it’s rude to use your phone during a meeting, a speech, a play or a movie. But I don’t think it’s seen as rude as talking in the theater is still. There are still things to work out.
I feel like most people will say it’s rude to use your phone during a meeting, a speech, a play or a movie. But I don’t think it’s seen as rude as talking in the theater is still.
J: People are also ruder in general. It certainly created a dependency on technology. I don’t think people would be so addicted to the internet if it wasn’t for smartphones. It’s also changed the way minds work if you think about.
L: The thing about the internet and smartphones is that it’s giving us more data points. I don’t think people are any ruder than they were. I think we just get to see more of it because people are willing to share their thoughts and feelings much more freely online.
J: I don’t know. People seem to have a hard time being nice, having manners and not being unnecessarily angry. Which could be just the world we live in but, even if the politeness inauthentic, it’s better than someone being blatantly rude. Hiding behind keyboards gives people license to say and do things that shouldn’t be accepted as a norm.
L: I’m not sure that trolling or being rude online is accepted as a norm. If you said something rude from the internet to someone in person, I doubt they would think that was a normal or acceptable thing to say. If anything, a lot of people begrudgingly accept the existence of trolls or other online rudeness because there really hasn’t been any way to stop it completely. You can block someone but it’s just playing whack-a-mole sometimes. It’s a big wide world and the internet just makes it bigger.
J: I’ve always felt the internet made the world smaller. It brings different cultures and different perspectives into someone’s world view without them having to travel or leave their couch, really. The smartphone just puts it everyone’s pockets. Thanks, Apple.
L: That’s true. The internet holds the largest amount of readily accessible information in all of human history. It’s just sad that we use it most of the time to watch cat videos.