In the past I’ve spoken a great deal about smartphone addiction, I’ve made many videos discussing this topic from lots of different perspectives. But reliance on smartphones is a slightly different topic to cover. We’re building a society that soon won’t be able to function without a smartphone.

Is our society becoming too dependant on smartphones

In the 2013 Mobile App Behaviour Survey, 85% of respondents said they would rather go without water than their mobile apps.

Regardless as to whether a person is addicted to their smartphone or not, nowadays, like it or not, our smartphones are becoming a more and more important products in our lives. They’re more than just entertainment and communications devices. They’re now becoming essential devices for other aspects of our daily lives.

With new features such as NFC and Apple’s new Apple Pay, smartphones can replace your credit card and even conventional cash. This is obviously a really handy breakthrough but it seems that with an ever increasing amount of functions we give to smartphones, the more valuable they become to us and those who like to steal them from us. Consequentially, the more we come to depend on them. You may have experienced that sense of dread and anxiety when you misplace your phone or leave it at home accidentally. Some people experience separation anxiety and feelings of anger and unease.

We’re now putting so much of our lives on our phones. It’s our camera, our web browser, our emails, games, our fitness device and all round a most important companion. So I’m truly disturbed when I read an article like the one in the daily telegraph, in which a survey of 1,500 students reveals they would rather give up sex, coffee and eating out than their smartphone. In another study, 44% of Americans sleep with their smartphone.

There’s even an increased pressure for college professors to tailor their curriculum to the kinds of devices students are using. Students are simply skim reading course material, books and academic journal articles. They sometimes complain when given long assignments, that they can’t write long essays on an iPad so more and more multiple choice assignments and exams are given, which you can sometimes pass with guess work. It’s not a reliable way to really test students. I think this is giving students way too much control over course material and the curriculum. Lecturers have to dumb down content to fit on smartphones and tablets and make it more easily consumable. I don’t see how simplifying important information, complex topics and knowledge is the best way to produce the next generation of intelligent graduates. It seems to me that smartphones are smarter than their users.

So my question is, even though there’s no doubt smartphones are extremely handy in our lives, is giving them more and more functionality a major problem, particularly when they could increase our dependancy on them?

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