In an effort to examine the broader impact of mobile devices on people’s lives, we presented cell phone owners with six separate impacts that might result from mobile phone ownership and these impacts were equally balanced between positive and negative ones. These responses indicate that mobile users see mostly positive benefits to mobile technologies — but also some drawbacks related to the constant connectivity (and mental temptations) that cell phones offer.
When it comes to the positive impacts of cell phone ownership, fully two-thirds (65%) of cell owners say that mobile phones have made it “a lot” easier to stay in touch with the people they care about, while just 6% say that their phone has not improved their connections with friends and family at all. Roughly half of cell owners say that their phone has made it at least somewhat easier to plan and schedule their daily routine, and to be productive while doing things like sitting in traffic or waiting in line.
When it comes to the “dark side” of cell phone ownership, roughly one in five cell owners say that their phone has made it at least somewhat harder to forget about work at home or on the weekends; to give people their undivided attention; or to focus on a single task without being distracted. A majority of cell owners say that their phone has had no impact at all on their life in any of these negative ways.
Compared with their elders, younger cell owners are especially attuned to both the positive and negative impacts of mobile connectivity. Low- and high-income cell owners also have divergent attitudes towards the benefits and challenges posed by ubiquitous mobility. Those from higher income households are more likely to say that their cell phone makes it easier to schedule their daily routine, and to be productive throughout the day. At the same time, cell owners with a household income of more than $75,000 per year are significantly more likely than other cell owners to say that their phone makes it harder to disconnect from the demands of the workplace. Some 17% of these high-income earners say that their phone makes it “a lot” harder to do this (compared with 7% for those earning less than $30,000 per year, 6% for those earning $30,000-$49,999, and 8% for those earning $50,000-$74,999). Overall, nearly one third (29%) of high-income cell owners say that their phone makes it at least somewhat harder to disconnect from work at home and on the weekends.
One third of cell owners say that overall, their cell phone saves them time — while just 3% say it costs them time.
Overall, cell owners are far more likely to view their phone as a time-saver than as a time-waster. Some 33% of cell owners agree with the statement that their phone “saves you time because you can always access the information you need,” while just 3% agree with the statement that their phone “costs you time because you are constantly distracted or interrupted.” The largest proportion of cell owners (56%) say that the time costs and time savings offered by cell phones pretty much balance each other out.
Smartphone owners have especially positive attitudes towards their phones’ time-saving capabilities. Some 44% of smartphone owners say that their phone saves them time because they can access the information they need at all times—double the 20% of non-smartphone owners who say the same. And despite saying that their cell phone makes it hard to escape the demands of employment, cell owners with high levels of income and education are generally quite positive about the time-saving capabilities of their mobile devices. Some 42% of cell owners with a college degree (and 43% of those with an annual household income of $75,000 or more) say that their cell phone saves them time overall, a significantly higher percentage than those with lower levels of income or education.
Impact of Cell Phones on Our Lives
Discovery of cell phones is one of the significant technological advancement in recent times. Their wide use has had a remarkable impact on physical, social, aesthetical, and economic and health aspects of life. Some of the impacts have contributed positively to the life of human kind, but still others have influenced negatively on his life. In both developed and developing countries, cell phones are the main communication tools in all the sectors of the economy. This ranges from the service sector, transport, and in industries.
The first substantial impact of using cell phones is the ease of communication among people. Unlike the landlines, mobile phones are portable, and one can use them in whichever location he or she is as long as there is network coverage. Most people prefer cell phones to landlines due to their convenience and their abilities to send a short message services (SMS). Cell phones enables business people do their work by maintaining correspondence with customers, suppliers, business partners and financial institutions. They have also enabled families retain kinship ties especially due to geographical differences.
The cell phones have made a significant impact on the social life of people. Apart from voice and text services, some cell phones have cameras, alarm clock, and radio and allow access to the internet. Youths take advantage of some of these features in a positive manner to organize and maintain social contacts with friends and relatives. They also heavily utilize social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Skype for entertainment. In the recent years, cell phones carry out mobile money transactions whereby the SIM card is the unique personal identifier. Banks have also made it easier for their customers to access their accounts, check balances, and receive bank statements from their phones.
However, cell phones have come with negative effects to people’s lives. One is that cell phones have influenced interpersonal relationships and social interactions negatively. Cell phones have increased tendencies of multitasking, a trend responsible for accidents in our roads. This has resulted in violation of social norms as well as being a risk to personal security. Cell phones have led to social evils such as ‘sexting’, harassment and bullying of teens, in addition to creating less unity with families and friends.
Despite the few setbacks observed, humankind has made tremendous strides since the introduction of cell phones. Good management, planning and training, will increase the positive impact of cell phones in our lives and tremendously ease the life of humankind.