How mobile phones are ruining relationships


Annalisa Geger

Technology has been a fundamental catalyst for the growth of the modern day industrial world. Its variety of sciences can expand from the creation of a microscopic bug to the construction of a colossal rocket that will blast off into space. The type of technology this generation most adores, however, is probably quite obvious: our smartphones.
The consistent use of smartphones impacts everyone’s daily lives and relationships in ways that no other generation has experienced – in both good and bad ways.
The average teenager in the United States spends around nine hours of their day watching television shows, playing games and using the social media—a stark contrast compared to how much time young adults used to spend on their screens, according to a study by Common Sense Media. What was a useful tool for communication has transformed into a constant source of entertainment as people become attached to the social media, video games and addicting apps mobile phones can offer.
While this is a remarkable achievement for the technological world and for one’s enjoyment, our generation may be attached to cell phones in ways that could be damaging to relationships.  
“[Cell phones] have definitely lessened the strength in relationships,” junior Hannah Backman said. “I’ll oftentimes go to places like The Grind and only see people on their phones instead of talking to one another.”
Backman was correct when she said cell phones have taken away some of the social aspects of making new friends. An article in the Time supports her line of thinking by describing how real-life interactions are dulled when a person feels the urge to check their phones all the time or flick through Instagram. A study from Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business also confirmed that people feel more distracted by their cell phones while in the company of others, leading to less interaction and communication between strangers or even friends.
“People are obsessed because we feel like we need to be constantly connected and aware of everything,” senior Kyle Watkinson said. “We have all got a bad case of FOMO (fear of missing out).”
This kind of fear is what makes it hard for teenagers to develop an independent relationship from their phone, and, in turn, compelling them to check it every so-often.
“I think nowadays a lot of relationships usually revolve around cell-phones, which can cause more isolation to social interaction and basically life,” sophomore Kaitlyn Weatherford said. “Whenever someone gets a text, their main reaction is to check their phone right away, which shows the addictive aspect of our phones.”
Phones have also become a major distraction to more important things in life. Although mobile devices can come in handy for communicating, they are also famous for distracting people from school or work. Researchers found that the schools which banned cell-phones experienced a substantial improvement in test scores and discovered the students took 62 percent more notes than their cell-phone using colleagues, says a London School of Economics study.  
“Whenever I get bored in class or can’t focus enough to get things done, I rely on my phone to keep me entertained,” junior Savannah Schnabel said.  
On the other hand, it is impossible to be too cynical toward these beloved hand-held devices. Undoubtedly, the power our phones give us to connect with people on opposite sides of the world in a matter of seconds is a feat that has changed society. In fact, they have served their purpose in ways that have strengthened relationships because people can now be connected long-distance.
“I think they’ve made long distance relationships possible because now we can constantly stay in contact with people that live in different cities or states,” junior Abigail Chapdelaine said. In this way, cell phones have evolved into a helpful tool of unification for people who otherwise wouldn’t have any other means of immediate communication.
“My phone has definitely brought me closer to some people that I can’t see very often,” Watkinson said. “­­I am very close with my cousin who lives in Georgia, but that connection wouldn’t be possible without my phone because I only get to see her once a year.”
Cell phones have also changed the outcome of emergency situations. Now, the most efficient way for someone to get in contact with another person is through a simple cell phone call. The fact that instant communication is possible at the touch of a hand is an accomplishment that is extremely convenient and even has the potential to save lives.
“When I got in my car crash in October, I was the only one in my car and my family was in all different places,” Schnabel said. “I was a little worried, but because I had my phone I was able to contact my family to inform them what had happened, and also to call my friends so that I could calm myself down.”
While mobile phones have introduced a new wave of useful communications, in the end, the basic conclusion can be made: smartphones are too invasive and demanding of our time. As a result of this, people are giving mobile phones the power to ruin personal relationships with others, and losing some of the reality that comes with creating constructive relationships.
“Cell phones are a distraction to building relationships because people just lose interest in taking the time to develop real face-to-face relationships,” Chapdelaine said.