Friday, July 13, 2012

Smart Phones – The Great Destroyers

I dedicate the following invective to my superb Classical Writing teacher, Mrs. Kathy Weitz.  This post contains none of my political beliefs... just kidding.

For thousands of years, civilizations, communities, and individuals survived without the so-called “smart phone”, but many people living in the 21st century would struggle to survive a single day without one.  Smart phones can certainly be useful, because of the sheer amount of information one can procure through them, but ultimately the inventions do more harm than good because of mankind’s utter dependence upon them.  These electronic devices more often than not are guilty of causing addiction, solitude, illiteracy, and stupidity.  While the smart phone is sometimes useful, it also has degraded modern people to the point that it causes societal disease, separating its users rather than uniting them as it should.

Cell phones were originally conceived as instruments for traveling people to communicate verbally with friends and associates across great dimensions.  When used in this manner, cell phones could be handy tools for accomplishing work and swiftly contacting one’s acquaintances.   Now manufacturers are upgrading their mobile devices into “smart phones”, which have a multitude of extraneous functions including texting, internet browsing support, and apps, programs which are too insignificant to truly be called applications.  Oddly enough, these new abilities for the mobile phones don’t complement the technology; rather they weaken it.  In the present day, people use smart phones not to approach community but to sever themselves from it.

The smart phone itself is not a loathsome creation; it merely brings out the worst aspects of the human beings who use them.  If a person does not conduct his smart phone usage with moderation, he will quickly become addicted to the machine and unable to live comfortably without it.  The effects of a smart phone addiction are obvious, the most significant being a deterrence to interacting with one’s close fellows.  Take, for example, the disaster of a party I attended a while ago.  The purpose of this event was to socialize with former school friends and collectively enjoy a Pixar film, namely Up.  Unfortunately, the party started to collapse at the dinner table, when people turned to their smart phones instead of their friends for amusement.  The rudeness of this gesture cannot be understated, as they even occupied themselves with texting other friends who were not present at the congregation, trading those people in their midst for those who were not.  This poor display of manners continued even into the excellent movie, which was largely ignored for 2 hours as my friends shot and shared smart photos of each other.  The pointlessness of the whole exercise shocked me: instead of looking to Pixar’s wonderful story or to their friends for entertainment, they looked to the unspeaking and soulless digital replicas of themselves on the tiny screens of their electronics.  What is the allure of staring at a simple image of one’s friend when one can see and speak to that friend in person?  It appears then that smart phones are also guilty of causing a severe detachment from reality in their owners.  When given a choice between reality and fabrication, smart phone owners will often take unreal things over real ones, discarding their true friends for dots and lines on a monitor.  The gravest threat to a man’s relationships is not a dispute or a harsh word; it is his tie to his smart phone.

Some people have claimed that video games are just as successful at turning humans in anti-social zombies, but this is not so.  Although people can just as easily become addicted to video games as they can to their cell phones, the former are not as mobile as the latter.  While video games are confined to one’s own home, smart phones can go with one anywhere, even into social gatherings.  In addition, smart phones share all the same faults as video games, for these devices are capable of carrying electronic games like Temple Run and Angry Birds which easily become the obsession of their owners.  Cell phone games, however, lack the same positive aspects on a group which their larger console cousins boast: a big-screen game such as Halo can provide a decent, competitive activity to engage and unite friends, but a man playing Angry Birds at a party entertains himself alone while distancing his friends.

At a time when the fools in the American government consider smart phones a human right, it’s important to realize that the damage inflicted by these toys on society far outweighs their benefit.  Smart phones are mindless diversions for the stupid, which is why they’ve become an entitlement.

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