The smartphone has taken the old standard mobile to new heights where it has become a daily distraction, and the culprit of a communication break down with face to face interaction. Dr James Roberts, of Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business, in Texas, said that the instant messaging addiction was driven by materialism and impulsiveness. He then goes on to state:
“Mobile phones are a part of our consumer culture,” Dr Roberts said. “They are not just a consumer tool, but are used as a status symbol. They’re also eroding our personal relationships.” He said getting hooked on a mobile is similar to other addictions, such as compulsive buying and credit card misuse.
This insight indicates how significant smart phones are to our lives, and in particular the cost of its addiction. The mobile phone has become one of if not the sole tool for the younger generation to organise their social lives, which communicates the power and potential problems that may arise with this abundant technology. Not only has the mobile directly affected relationships through trust issues, yet by social status.
The iPhone being one of the more expensive phones on the market has created a division in how we view each other, for those not able to afford the most ‘luxurious’ phone are perceived as beneath their peers. This has created massive social implications within groups, as it changes the behaviour of the owner of such an item through the knowledge of having something that is symbolic of power and wealth. Of the students in the study mentioned previously by Dr James Roberts, Some said they felt so cut off without their iPhone or Blackberry that it evokes similar feelings to the “phantom limb” syndrome suffered by amputees. This is astonishing as Generation Y are quickly becoming an almost Cyborg generation where we feel lost in a world full of technology, where the foreign form of interaction is through social media and smart phones.