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Being Smart & Not So Phoney

The Pre-Pandemic and Post-Pandemic worlds will never be the same again. Changes have happened in many ways, and manifold. Perhaps, the biggest change has taken place in the use of smartphones! Literally, the virtual world has replaced the real world in various aspects of life. Indeed, it is unprecedented! Of course, it had already been understood that the future of the small device would not be limited to a limited range of communication and messaging. Now, the very existence of the entire Human Society in the Post-Lockdown period depends on it. The more human life is restricted and lesser the opportunity for social interaction, the more public attention is focused on the small screen. As per a latest survey, the amount of time spent on a smartphone was an average of 4.5 hours a day in 2019. It became seven hours in 2020. The jump was about 39% in one year.

Work from home, online education… smartphones have become a much needed item, now. If there is no smartphone in a home, the child would be deprived of education or the adults would have to face difficulties in performing their official works. Hence, it is expected that the usage of this particular object will increase. However, the danger lies elsewhere! The requirement has turned into addiction for a large number of people across the globe. In fact, experts are quite concerned about the dangerous smartphone addiction. South Korea is one of the most smartphone-using countries in the world. There is evidence of excessive dependency on smartphone among 10-19-year olds in South Korea. Many have been sent to addiction-free centres run by the Government in Seoul.

Elsewhere, people have started forgetting about their surroundings due to their smartphones, which are also ruining relationships. If the phone becomes the mean of receiving instructions from the workplace or communicating with the beloved person, then the physical presence of any other person in one’s life is not required! In the same way, those – who take selfies and post them on the Social Media only to get attention of Netizens – often click their own photos standing in front of a burning house or an accident site. This inhumanity is not at all surprising, as these people do not live in real world. And in the virtual world, everything, including humanity and empathy, is relative!

Furthermore, smartphones have a great negative impact over human health. Experts have warned that using smartphones before going to bed at night disrupts the normal sleep. It is also dangerous for physical and mental well-being. They have advised users of smartphones to turn off all digital items at least one hour before going to bed, apart from making it a habit to keep the phone switched off for some time in day. According to experts, it is also important to contact with relatives and friends, face-to-face. However, it is difficult to follow these advices in Post-Pandemic world because of Social Distancing. If the situation remains unchanged, the grip of technology would certainly become stronger, and that change would be long-lasting.

Smartphones have enabled us to do various tasks all at the same time, thus, making our lives much more convenient. Cell phones have also changed the way that people interact with each other. When we call someone, we are actually calling the person, and not a place.

The smartphone has one billion users worldwide and a market place of over 2.5 million applications. While we could have anticipated that the iPhone would transform our ability to communicate, we could never have considered its impact on our workforce and society at large. Just 20 years ago, smartphones didn’t even exist. Now, we can’t even remember the last time we actually didn’t use our smartphone for a whole day. Mobile smart devices and mobile internet are changing the way we do things and how we connect with other people. A new report, published by Ericsson Consumer Lab, states that almost one-third of Americans access their favourite smartphone applications, like Facebook, even before getting out of the bed in the morning. According to the participants, who took part in this survey conducted by the Bank of America, they couldn’t last a day without their smartphones.

The survey has further revealed that 91% say that their smartphone is very important and for 60%, it is even more important than their daily coffee. For 96% of millennials, the smartphone is very important and for 93%, it is definitely even more important than deodorant. For 93%, the gadget is more than having a toothbrush!

Smartphones have both advantages and disadvantages to the society, including:

Time Saving: The ability to do so many different things on one device (from checking your email, texting friends, checking the weather and news, making appointments, make bank transactions, etc.

Safety: We are able to trace our friends and family thanks to numerous Apps, such as FindMyFriends, to make sure they are safe. And walking home alone late at night is no longer needed, as there are various online taxi services, like Uber, Ola, Lyft and Hailo, nowadays.

Accessible Information: There is almost nothing that can´t be done with a smartphone. It is basically a portable mini-computer.

GPS Navigation: Smartphones allow you to find wherever you need to go at the touch of a button. No need for old fashioned paper maps like back in the day and checking your compass for east and west. You can even map out routes for your latest run schedule.

Efficiency: One of the things that make smartphones so vital to our daily lives is their efficiency. The speed with which you can do tasks on a smartphone is almost unparalleled. It allows you to get work done and communicate with people even whilst you’re on the move.

A Match.com survey, released in September 2020, found that 39% of respondents think they dated more than they normally would because of their smartphones. Another survey was done asked how smartphones had changed their lives, the most common responses were that it brought them into closer contact with their friends and families, apart from helping them get better informed. At least 75% of respondents in every country agreed that this constant connection was mostly positive.

The smartphone app industry is a booming industry that worth billions of dollars. According to entrepreneur.com, the average mobile app user spends more than 30 hours a month on more than two dozen apps. That’s a lot of people spending a lot of time with their noses stuck in apps. Given that 46% of app users report having paid for their apps, that’s big money, too. Within 2021, it’s expected that over 268 billion app downloads will generate USD 77 billion worth of revenue.

Still, Human Civilisation would have to find a way to safeguard its existence from the dependency on technology on an urgent basis…

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