Technology has been progressing at an unbelievable pace. Just two decades ago, having a cell phone was a social status symbol even though they could do little more than making calls without any geographical constraint. But when we look at smart phones today, they look more like portable computers that fit in our hands than merely communication devices. Smart phones have affected both our personal and professional lives. While most of the effects of smart phones have been positive, irresponsible use of smart phone may impose cost on both the individual and the society.
Smart phones help individuals improve productivity and efficiency in both personal and professional matters. Smart phones do not only enable instant communication due to both verbal and non-verbal communication capabilities but also enable us to take advantage of the information resources on the internet. Similarly, smart phones allow professionals to conduct many tasks on the road, thus, increasing time resources on their disposal. But smart phone may also lead to distraction and waste of time resources. Students may use smart phone to pass time during class lectures and similarly, workers may use smart phone for personal affairs during work hours. This poses challenge for instructors and managers at work because while they want to encourage productive use of digital devices like smart phones, they also want to prevent waste of precious time resources in unproductive activities.
Smart phones may strengthen or weaken personal relationships, depending upon the users’ habits. Smart phones allow individuals to efficiently stay in touch with family members, friends, and other acquaintance, especially now that they have powerful social media capabilities. But smart phone addiction sometimes hurts face-to face interaction. It is not uncommon for parents to complain their children are glued to their smart phones even when the family is together or they are eating meals together. Similarly, friends may be socializing together yet most of them would frequently check their smart phones for messages and/or social media updates. It is important for smart phone users to understand that face-to-face interaction has its own benefits that cannot be replicated through digital communication.
Smart phones may encourage higher levels of consumption. It could be said that smart phones have been a blessing for marketers who can now reach consumers round-the-clock. In addition, a number of smart phone apps have emerged that encourage consumption by awarding points for visiting sponsors’ locations. Similarly, marketers now often send online coupons to consumers which they can redeem using their smart phones. Smart phones may also encourage online shopping because many commercial websites are optimized for browsing through portable devices like smart phones. Thus, many users randomly browse through their favorite shopping websites on their smart phones. It is logical to assume the more a consumer browse a shopping website, the more he/she is likely to order items.
Smart phones have been an amazing invention by any measure and could almost be called portable computers. They help improve both personal and professional productivity. But smart phones may also lead to precious waste of time resources if students in the class or workers at their work places use smart phones for wasteful activities. While smart phones improve communication, they may also hurt relationships due to potential of distraction. In addition, smart phones may encourage higher levels of consumption because they make it easier for marketers to reach consumers.