Are Smartphones the New Newspaper?

Written and Media by Katie Wallace.

There are two types of people in this world: those who think smartphones are ruining today’s society, and those whose whole lives exist within their smartphone. Okay not really, but those are definitely two opposite opinions on the same spectrum regarding smartphones. Some people believe smartphones will be the downfall of humanity’s intelligence, while others believe that smartphones have become a necessity of life. In reality, smartphones can be used for both good and evil. When used for the wrong reasons, smartphones can be distracting and obnoxious. However, they can also be enlightening and educational. When a person holds a smartphone in their hands, they have the whole world at their fingertips. Maybe having so many resources so easily accessible in one place isn’t such a bad thing after all.

Image by Katie Wallace

I do agree that some people are far too obsessed with their smartphones. One of my pet peeves is when I’m with a group of people and we’re talking, laughing, and having a merry old time, and there’s that one person only paying attention to his phone. The worst part is when that person interrupts a perfectly good conversation to show everyone a 5 minute video of someone doing something stupid. Our conversation was interrupted so that we can all watch a video none of us wanted to see in the first place. That is a perfect example of smartphones distracting from real-life situations and conversations. People have used smartphones to distract them from the tedious tasks of life, thus immersing themselves in a virtual world that exists outside reality. This type of interaction gives smartphones a bad rap, but they can also be used for good.

Before smartphones, consumers received their news of current events via newspaper, television news station, or word of mouth. People often had to wait a certain amount of time to receive this information as well. Now, because of smartphones, people can check the news at any time of the day. So what’s the difference between then and now? Then, people still checked their newspaper religiously, and would idly watch the news on television or listen to it on the radio, just waiting for something to happen. Now, people can be informed of current events shortly after they have occurred thanks to their smartphones. In both instances, the news was regularly being checked. The difference is the medium being used: a newspaper and a smartphone. So how is reading an article on a smartphone any different than reading an article in a newspaper? It’s not. The consumer is still receiving the same information, except at a faster, more efficient rate with the smartphone.

Image by Katie Wallace
Image by Katie Wallace

Granted, a lot of people use smartphones as a distraction, and they use them thoughtlessly. I’ve caught myself mindlessly unlocking my iPhone and not knowing why I did so in the first place. So yes, smartphones are often times used and abused over and over again. But that doesn’t mean the phones themselves are evil! Smartphones are a major source of information and communication nowadays, which isn’t a bad thing. Information has always been circling newspapers, radio stations, TV news channels, etc. Smartphones have just become a new way to convey those messages.

There are aspects of a smartphone that keep us from living in the moment with the people around us, but that’s not all there is to a smartphone. These devices have changed how we are able to communicate with one another. They have made conveying ideas and messages so much simpler. A college graduate can locate his classmates from 20 years ago with ease thanks to this technology. Smartphones aren’t evil; they’re meant for good. How you use yours makes all the difference in how it will impact your life.

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