Study shows that smartphones make us more social in person, not less.

The flip side of the negative views on mobile phone use.

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About Forestwoodfolk

Scandinavian culture, literature and traditions are close to my heart, even though I am Australian. I have Scandinavian, Frisian and Prussian/Silesian ancestry and for that reason, I feel a connection with that part of the world. I am an avid Nordic Crime fiction reader, and enjoy photography, writing and a variety of cooking and crafts, and traditional decorative art forms. Politically aware and egalitarian by nature, I have a strong environmental bent.
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14 Responses to Study shows that smartphones make us more social in person, not less.

  1. Sonel says:

    Lovely share thanks Amanda. It just goes to show you that there is something positive in every negative. It all depends on how we look at it and how we react to it. 😀

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    • Yes, I think it was interesting to read this Sonel, and re blogged it in the interests of balanced commentary. Although I still think it is rude to over use a phone, in company. I noticed that almost everyone had technology in use yesterday at a central coffee shop. However, they were participating as well as looking at their phone/laptop. The historic analogies about the telephone and tv were interesting comparisons. TV does erode conversations but I think modern society has adjusted to it somewhat. When we have company, the TV is off!! The phone should be also, shouldn’t they?

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    • Sonel says:

      Oh, I agree Amanda and it’s like you said – when company comes over, switch off the TV and those phones, unless you are a 24/7 standby for idiots like my hubby is. He is in the IT business, have techs under him that can’t think for himself, so they will call him with the most stupid reasons just because they don’t want to think for themselves. One day we had a braai and some friends over and these idiot techs kept him busy on the phone all day long. Now that is irritating. So yes, stupid people using technology like this is not a good idea either. LOL! I have a cell phone but only hubby and my sons have the number as I don’t like anyone calling or bothering me. It interferes with my blogging time. hehehe

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    • I hear you!! Irritating. He should be unavailable so then the techs will have to think for themselves. Can you turn the volume down on his phone at your next braai? 😛

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    • Sonel says:

      I wish! Unfortunately it’s his job as Operations Manager but lately the first thing he asks them is what they have already done on the job. When they say nothing he tells them to call him back when they had done something and can’t go any further and that he is not going to spoon-feed them anymore. I would love to turn the volume down on lazy-thinkers like them. LOL!

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    • One wonders if these ‘techs’ addressed the job criteria “showing initiative on the job” when they first applied for the position! LOL. Have a great day, Sonel. 🙂

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    • Sonel says:

      One really wonders Amanda. LOL!
      Have a great day too hon. *hugs*

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    • Thanks, same to you! 🙂

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  2. kaymetviner says:

    Thanks for sharing, this is definitely something I rarely hear the other side of! I am still hesitant to agree that this study shows that people are generally more sociable even with their smartphones, however, because the study focused on an area that people purposely go to socialize. This means it isn’t addressing that fear/claim that people are spending more time alone on their devices and less time with other people (the old my kids will stay inside on the phone instead of playing with the neighbors theory), because it does’t capture anyone who hasn’t already left the house. What do you think?

    I am glad to know that at least in that spot they didn’t find a majority of people ignoring each other for their screens, though!

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    • HI Kay,Thanks for your long and thought – provoking comment. I guess there are two answers to that question. Firstly, you are right in that it doesn’t gauge what happens in people’s homes. Secondly, I think it depends on where the socializing takes place outside of the home as to how much people use their phones. AT home, I think usage has increased. But would the family unit be talking more or has the smartphone simply replaced the television? And if so, is it more interactive than the television. Perhaps yes, but then there are no commercial breaks in the smartphone, only a short time waiting for slow sites to upload/download. I have been taking much more note when I am out and about in the community. In coffee shops, I don’t see more focus on the smartphone ( at least in the suburbs ) perhaps a little more engagement with the phone in the business district. ( this might be rationalized through work commitments). The football games where people are focused on their phones: is it because the game is boring? i.e. their team is losing? However, there is definitely more focus on capturing the moment, be it a football game, a rock concert, children playing or touching momemnt, through the lens of the camera. The Japanese have been very much into this for decades. Do they miss the real thing by looking through the lens? Does the general population have time to watch home videos, or youtubes videos they filmed? I doubt it, possibly because they have too many notifications on their smartphones to check through, to be bothered with watching the video/photos they took when they last saw BonJovi/whoever??? What do you think?

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    • kaymetviner says:

      You’ve highlighted what makes picking a side of the smart phone vs. real-life social interaction debate so difficult! It seems that almost every means of interacting with our phones can be social or isolating; playing a cell phone game could be keeping you from interacting with other humans, or you could be using the game to play WITH other people. (If you’ve ever had friends who play online games, you’re familiar with the “these ARE my real friends” retort to a suggestion that they go out with real friends.)

      Anyway, I’ve been thinking about what you said about smartphones replacing TV, and if it actually might be more interactive. Just like with games, I see it going both ways, but for some reason I am more put off by the thought of a whole family on their smart phones instead of watching TV together. I think it’s because even though there are plenty of arguments against TV, I like the idea of spending time together meaning that everyone is at least mainly focused on the same thing, know what I mean? I think this is becoming less common – my boyfriend is perfectly content to sit next to me while we both cruise the internet independently, but I would much prefer to watch a movie together.

      The wider pattern I think is that people are constantly on the mental move, and focusing on one thing at a time is just not enough. I work at a call center, and I can’t tell you how many times a day people answer their phones and then say, “can you call me later? I’m in class/ a meeting/ dinner/ THE SHOWER”. It blows my mind! I think there was a time where if you didn’t want to be bothered, you didn’t answer your phone.

      That only partially responded to your comment… Sorry! What I think I may be trying to get at is that even though people are interacting at a higher volume now that smart phones are ubiquitous, I don’t think we’re putting the same mental and emotional effort into our interactions. On the one hand, it’s allowing us to be “in touch with” way more people (hundreds of facebook friends), but on the other, I wonder if we’re trading quality for quantity.

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    • That comment: Quality for quantity is very profound. We have cut down communication to a quick clipped response. We don’t have hour long phone conversations very often these days, or at least I don’t. Instead, as time is short, we will send a text, thinking we can talk more deeply when we see that person next. I think TV is more acceptable because we have not grown up WITHOUT it. I feel sure families pre TV had the same reservations we have about smart phones. But I do agree that it is hard to have a combined conversation about what each of us are surfing on our phones. However, six or seven people can sit down and watch a show together and chat, mock, discuss, analyze a TV program, either during, before or after. Can’t see that happening too often with smartphones, unless your computer is hooked up the TV, like mine and then we can surf and discuss as we go along trawling the net. And perhaps this is also related to content. Smartphones deliver information and entertainment, whereas TV seems more focused on entertaining, so lends to a more social group interaction. RE the games: “these are my real friends” statement. I say, “Are they?” Are they the same people who will come and pick your kids up from school when they are sick, or help you out with a supportive message when you are low. Maybe, but maybe not. I tend to think that often cyber friends are great antidotes to loneliness, and give us the feeling of companionship without the physical demands of friendship, but if the community does not hold on to having and developing physical friends in the local community and face to face interactions, then there will be very little “community” left. Your neighbour might only be content to talk to you in a virtual sense, and not over the fence. What a world that would be!

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  3. kaymetviner says:

    Good point about real friends being the ones who will come to your aide in your real life. It’s tempting to brush that aside because a lot of us have friends all over the world, but I do feel more secure when the friends I depend on are those who will come over and make me tea, not just send me a sad-face emoticon.

    As for TV, I wish interesting informative programming sold in this country (I’m in the US, but I imagine this applies elsewhere…) ! Imagine if the Discovery Channel were as popular as the Entertainment Channel… I heard about a recent trend in Norwegian called “slow TV” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slow_television), where people watch things like full-length scenic train rides. I guess I could imagine needing a distraction – like a smartphone! – while watching that with the family, but apparently it’s really popular over there.

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    • Each to his own I guess. And it seems the Norwegians are flouting the trend against skimming channel surfing and reading selected passages found on Google as opposed to the whole book. Which goes against developing that deeper long term analytical thinking.

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