The Smartphone: My deVICE
Written by: Shubh Borad, Health Science Student
We use hundreds, if not thousands of things every day. From the moment we wake up to the minute we fall asleep, and especially during the time in-between, we are constantly using something to make our lives easier. Whether that thing is as small, cheap, and seemingly insignificant as dental floss or as “useful” and “valuable” as our computers and smartphones, each of these things works in tandem to make our life what it is. They have become an essential part of our lives as modern, civilized humans. That being said, we just as easily forget the importance these things hold in our lives. If you are anything like me, you never realize this fact until you forget to pack your towel on a beach trip and have to air dry in the chilly evening air, or you are scrambling to get hold of a laptop charger before it dies halfway through class.
Although it is still true that everything in our lives holds great value in its own way, if I were to pick only one thing I could not imagine my life being the same without, it would undoubtedly be my smartphone. Mind-blowing, right? I know what you are thinking, “this guy wrote a whole paragraph trying to show us how everything, no matter how small, is important, and then goes on to choose the most basic answer”. I agree. This answer is very predictable. However, after thinking long and hard about how I have spent my last decade, give or take a few years, the one thing that has provided me with the most utility and influenced my development the most, for the better or worse, is my smartphone.
Like many of you, my journey with my smartphone, or portable smart devices in general, started during my childhood. When I got my first smart device, an iPod Touch at the age of 8, it was nothing more than another toy. Something to play with when it was too cold to go outside or when nothing good was on TV. However, as I grew to understand all that this small metal contraption is capable of, and more so all that it can do for me, it quickly became an integral part of me. My second brain.
Like a trusty sidekick, my smartphone is always by my side, helping me, supporting me, and serving me. It isn’t just a toy used to kill time, or a simple device used to call people anymore; my smartphone has become a productivity powerhouse. From providing entertainment through Spotify, Netflix, and YouTube to facilitating global social connections via calling, texting, and a plethora of available social media platforms. From providing valuable resources for work and school using countless educational and professional apps, to help me organize my life via productivity apps such as Todoist and Notion. My smartphone helps me with everything; it has deeply integrated itself within my life. Unlike many other extremely useful things I use daily which, although important, serve only one or two primary functions, my smartphone is the jack of all trades.
Evident from the previous paragraph, I am sure there is no doubt in your eyes as to why I have chosen this predictable answer; however, if I am being candid, this choice, although accurate, is not one I am entirely proud of making. The older I get, the more I begin to realize how dependent I, and most people in general, are on our smartphones. I would even go as far as to say we are increasingly being manipulated by our devices. Smartphones allow us to connect to the world via social media apps, but they also prey upon our primal drive for dopamine to foster unhealthy addictions to mindless scrolling. Due to smartphones, we have unimaginable amounts of information at our fingertips, but in exchange, our valuable attention is being auctioned off to the highest bidder. Smartphones, and technology in general, assist us greatly, but is its current usage justified, or is it a precursor to a dystopian future similar to that depicted in the film Wall-E? Yes, my smartphone is always by my side, but is it really serving me, or am I serving it?
Enough about me. What one thing you cannot live without? Is your smart device also your vice?
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