I thought this was a pretty interesting article. Cell phones were essentially developed to give us the ability to be more social and stay connected to others, and since we are social creatures by nature, the cell phone spread virally for many different reasons, whether it be for work, just for fun or as a security.
However, this article shows us studies that prove otherwise: That instead of connecting us to the people around us, it rather makes us unsocial in the “real world” and makes us more selfish. Researchers from the University of Maryland conducted experiments on college-aged males and females and “found that after a short period of cell phone use, people were less likely to partake in ‘prosocial’ behavior — actions that are intended to help another person or society — compared with a control group.” What I thought was pretty interesting and shows how much our brains are wired to act a certain way – people acted the same way even if they simply drew a picture of their cell phones and thought about using them.
We all want to be connected to the people closest to us, but once we have that sense of belonging, even just through a cell phone, we feel satisfied and possess no interest in acting altruistic to others:
All humans have a fundamental need to connect with others — but once that need is met, say by using a cell phone, it naturally reduces our inclination to feel empathy or engage in helping behavior toward others.
Additionally, compared to other mobile technology and social media outlets such as Facebook, cell phones lead the way in feelings of connectivity and therefore also the side effects of that connection.
What makes this article so interesting to me is that I found myself comparing it to every day life around College Ave. I know that if I’m wrapped up in a conversation I’m having through text message or IM on my iPhone, with earphones on completely tuning out the outside world, chances are I’ll walk right past someone I know or someone that needs help with something, simply because I didn’t notice.
I see people walking out in front of cars while they are crossing the street because their eyes are glued to their cell phones.
People with cell phones exhibit less social behavior physically because they are enjoying the mental connection they are experiencing with another person however far away and removed from the situation. For example: You’re at a party where you don’t know many people. If you are shy or alone, or just feeling out of place, chances are you will be looking at your phone and texting someone you do know, and therefore avoiding pro-social behavior that comes from interacting with peers around you. That kind of attitude and behavior is pretty off-putting to those around you who are making an effort to socialize. Not many people will approach someone who can’t stop a text conversation and willingly excludes those people around them.