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The Advent of Smartphones: What has changed in Social Behavior?

By The Nigerian Voice
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“I fear the day technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.”  This pessimism was expressed by late physicist and philosopher, Albert Einstein who most likely had a foresight about the upsurge in advancement of technology especially in the area of telecommunication.

When the first smartphone was invented in 1992 by The International Business Machines (IBM) it was quite embraced by the few who could afford the rather expensive phones at the time. While only a few people could part with their hard-earned money to buy smartphones fondly referred to as "Simon", it was not clear to humans that these devices would eventually have a huge impact on social behavior and lifestyle of people to the extent of wreaking havoc.

Technology has totally revolutionized the way humans connect around the globe with both familiar persons and strangers. As technology evolved, so did technologically savvy people.

Over the years up until now - 2015, one of the most life-changing technologies has been the smartphone - a portable handheld device that combines the functions of a mobile phone with those of a computer.

Before the advent of Smartphones, papers flew around more; relationships and meetings were deliberate and LIVE.

In the digital era, the conversation changed; everything seemed to suddenly depend on digital world as a quick-fix for play, work and burning of stress.

As much as Technology helps to better the lives of people, it also has its negative impact on their behavior.

These days, many avoidable accidents around the world are caused by drivers who chat while driving – no thanks to instant messaging such as the Blackberry messenger.

Also, teenagers now find total strangers online to chat with, abandoning their take home school assignments. Relationships are suffering setbacks for the reasons that lovers' attention are drifted towards the unreal 'friend', a stranger in the digital world.

Couples now look at different screens, chatting even while on a date meant for the two.

Abuse of Smartphones is having negative effects on relationships there are other instances such as Children losing sleep for chatting upward in the night, employees wasting man hours chatting at work making lack of productivity a huge concern for their employers.

There is continued drop in the attention span of a lot of people to the extent that so many have become addicts and it's hard for such persons to leave their phones unattended to.

This phenomenon has a negative impact on social behavior, a pertinent issue that has forced many to ask if Technology is a blessing or a curse.

As smartphones become popular in societies across the world with its negative impact on persons of all ages, the positives are there too.

Smartphones are helping workers work from anywhere and not necessarily an office space, it has become especially useful to bloggers, digital media managers and those who work around the clock to attend to clients online.

Students study online; earn certificates even with the use of their smartphones. 

Also, shopping has become easy especially for ladies with the coming on of e-commerce. There are now Online shops where one can conduct buying and selling, the likes of Kaymu that created a portal whereby people with the interest of deriving substantial profit from their businesses can conveniently benefit from the Online Marketplace. This is definitely and upside for technology.

All in all, there is less stress, quicker and easy fix for many things and a better life for all.

That being said, technology will continue to insulate people against the world around them giving a feeling of distance from the real world.

Fast-forward 10 years from now, everyone is going to get plugged into the rapid advancement in mobile phone technology.  Maybe distant learning will then be offered to those in Primary and Secondary schools as it is the case with those in tertiary institutions which is rife in modern times. Ceremonies like birthdays, naming will now be celebrated online.

The question will then be: How do we stay connected to real life and digital life simultaneously without making one to suffer at the expense of the other.

Nonetheless, priority should be given to life in the real world for relationships sake.