Are smartphones making us stupid? That was a question posed in the Sept. 7 issue of the New York Times’ Upfront Magazine. Some students from The Rambler staff weighed in with their opinion.
Smartphones are exactly what they call themselves: phones that make you smarter. Before smartphones, when you were asked a question in public that you didn’t know, could you look it up and know the answer in less than 20 seconds? Smartphones offer the Internet and other high quality apps that if used correctly have the potential to be great educational tools. The ability to search the web for things you see in public and are curious about is priceless. The argument on the opposition would state we don’t use them productively, but who is to blame for that? The phone? No, the potential lies in the hands of the user. —Daniel Brugger, senior
Smartphones are not making us dumber. The fact is, a device that contains practically all the facts of the world cannot rob us of our knowledge. Things like social media may distract us from obtaining new information, but they don’t suck information out of our heads. They simply distract us from what may be of more value.
That being said, some people have found ways to use their smartphones to make them *gasp* smarter. They download books to read, research information on the Internet, and use learning apps to enhance their mind. The Internet contains all the information that mankind has ever discovered. It’s literally impossible to browse aimlessly and not discover something you did not know. With all the knowledge in the world at your fingertips, you’re bound to learn something. —Brian Buseck, junior
I believe that smart phones are making us stupid. They are distracting us from knowing information. They keep us from having conversations with people in real life. They weaken our conversation skills, if any. They prevent us from having to deal with tough situations. Causing us to just text or email our problem to the person we are trying to reach. The cell phone wraps people up in themselves and makes everything about you, which is a good and bad thing. It’s a good thing because it allows us to keep memories of our fun times. It’s a bad thing because it gets us to be selfish and think all about ourselves. They make us stupid because they keep us from knowing information and allowing us to look up anything on our phone. —Nick Frisina, junior
I agree with the author, Andrew Keen, who believed that, yes, smartphones are making us stupid. The smartphone is an incredible tool and according to the Upfont article 64 percent of Americans have one, but this tool is not being properly optimized by the large quantities of people who own and operate said device. The big problem is that the smartphone allows one to become narcissistic and self-absorbed. Instead of connecting us with others it serves as another way to separate us. As an example, the two largest operating systems for smartphones are Android and iOS. People will actively despise and argue against one or the other separating and devaluing the other because it is different. The smartphone serves as a device to separate people instead of bringing them together, and for this reason I believe they are making us dumber. Plus, more people lack common sense and use the phone for blatantly stupid purposes, but that’s a rant for another day. —Joey Hickin, senior
I do not think smartphones are directly making us less intelligent. In reality, if people are becoming less intelligent and are on the phones constantly, they are making themselves this way. Smartphones can be used in sophisticated ways, such as solving math problems, reading intellectual articles, or writing something. Even the “yes” side of the argument admits this. However, people do not typically use them for these reasons more than for texting and social networking. It isn’t our smartphone’s fault that we are not always using it to enhance our knowledge. Also, some might argue that smartphones take away some of our ability to think of something ourselves. However, if we can find out a fact or idea in the quickest way possible, we can expand on it and use it to make more sound arguments or theories. Overall, if anything is making us stupid, it’s our own actions and how we use our smartphones.
—Brendan Jubulis, senior
I think the phone has progressed our society’s knowledge past anything we can comprehend. We may know fewer pointless facts, but in an instant we can find our those facts if the time comes. Schooling is able to be based more on a conceptual basis rather than rote memorization since this change. This is able to advance our minds to a more problem-solving basis rather than more factual. Even in looking up facts when needed we are able to learn them but on another platform than school. Ultimately this expands our minds on multiple levels.
—Josh Kurczewski, senior
Smartphones are becoming more and more popular with younger age groups. They are becoming increasingly more useful with every update, with new apps and ways of communicating information. The smartphones obviously have their downfalls, but are extremely useful devises that don’t make their users more stupid. That doesn’t mean, however, it doesn’t have the potential to have that effect. Games are one of the first thing most people think of when they imagine smartphones. Yes, there are games that obviously do not benefit you in any way expect to keep you preoccupied. However, there are also games that you can use to help with your memory and overall brain function, such as Luminosity. Beyond the games, the phones offer so much more with GPS capabilities, Google, and ability to communicate with others. Smartphones, all in all, are a very good resource that if used properly can be amazing tools. —Joe Sala, senior
Are smartphones making us stupid? In my opinion, they are not. A lot of the time it’s the people who do not know how to use the smartphones to benefit their lives. Technology is only getting better, and we can’t blame our laziness on it forever. It’s time we stop doing that now. As a society we need to learn to use these devices effectively rather than to our decadence. Only then will they serve their true purpose. —JP Martin, junior