More and more scientists say that social media and smartphones are highly addictive. They say that notifications etc. are causing receptors to release dopamine in the human brain. The thing with these harming phenomena in our societies is that they do not seem harmful from the start but they become harmful when large companies benefit from people becoming addictive to them. That’s we can, in a way, compare smartphones and social media to smoking.
Of course, smoking tobacco and using your iPhone are different things. However, let’s look at the similarities. Tobacco is a highly addictive substance. This became well known in the 50’s when medical scientist started to discover its effects on the human body. The main dangers are lung cancer and high blood pressure. In the first few years after these discoveries there were some attempt to control the use of tobacco but they were not very effective. Today, the number of smokers has increased a significant amount compared to the 50’s. However, the fact that tobacco companies (of which the five biggest ones made more profit than Coca-Cola, Walt Disney, fed-ex, google, mac Donald’s and Starbucks combined in 2015) benefit from people becoming addicts make them do everything to limit the amount of control the anti-tobacco campaign have on society. Smartphone companies and social media platforms and actually any type of company related to smartphones benefit from addiction just like tobacco companies.
It is interesting to see that companies like google are now introducing apps that help limit the time you spend on their products. Besides this, I have the feeling that a lot of people are acknowledging that smartphones have adverse effects on multiple facets of our lives. Some music venues have a strict no smartphone policy for example. I personally think it’s good to look critically at things that we can become addicted to. Big companies are out to make money out of things we become addicted to very often and we should be aware of that.
In my own experience, I notice that I use my smartphone a little too often. Sometimes I try to put my phone away for a particular amount of time. However, then I find myself picking it up anyways almost like I have no control over it. I am planning on leaving my smartphone at home this summer when I will be going on a holiday with my family. That means I will be off the grid for one whole week. I am really curious on what kind of effect it shall have on me.