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Monday Night Owls - 18 September 2017 - Are smartphones making us dumber?

NatashaTNatashaT Posts: 1,047 Teacher
We read an article about smartphones making us dumber:

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2017/08/a-sitting-phone-gathers-brain-dross/535476/

Vocabulary Top 10:

lap - the area between the knees and the hips of a person who is sitting down

satiety - a feeling or condition of being full after eating food

indignant - feeling or showing anger because of something that is unfair or wrong : very angry

tax - (verb) to require a lot from (something or someone) : to put demands on (something or someone) (note: tax also have other meanings)

trial - a test of the quality, value, or usefulness of something; a test of someone's ability to do something that is used to see if he or she should join a team, perform in a play, etc.

vagaries - changes that are difficult to predict or control

permeated - to pass or spread through (something)

drain - to cause (something) to lose something important; to make (someone) very physically or mentally tired;

luddite - a person opposed to increased industrialization or new technology

assiduously - diligently; in a way that shows great care, attention, and effort


Have you noticed any of the effects they describe in the article?

Do you think smartphones are distractions?


Challenge - try to use some of these vocabulary words in your answer B)

Comments

  • aprilapril Moderator Posts: 10,829 mod
    edited September 2017
    Okay, researchers (not me) think that smartphones are distractions, but what about books?
    I bet that a lot of people can't wait to read their favourites books everywhere and at every moment.
    Can't this addiction also distract people?
    Doesn't that book you are reading, call you the whole time to finish reading it?
    Have researchers made any experiments about it?
    Have you never taken your book to the dining table and even read it whilst eating your sandwiches?
    I admit that in the past I had some books in the ladies room, eventhough I wasn't addicted to it.
    Nowadays, I take my smartphones to the ladies for some reasons.
    One of them, the most important thing, is that I can reach anybody just in case something happens whilst I'm in that room.
    It might be; I could feel unwell or I could slip on my just cleaned "marble" floor :D and couldn't stand up again or the door handle could just get stuck!
    No, I don't think my smartphones distract me, they are more my friends. :smile:

    I wonder what conclusions those researchers would have had if they chose me as participant in their experiment. ;)

    Post edited by april on
  • NatashaTNatashaT Posts: 1,047 Teacher
    @april your comment reminded me of the article we read about the internet, and how the things people worry about or say about it are the same things that people used to say about television.... does that mean that smartphones are the new books? :D

    It also reminded me of a picture of lots of people reading newpapers, with a caption saying ´all this technology is making us anti-social´. I was about to share the photo here, but I saw this article instead, and changed my mind!

    https://medium.com/alt-ledes/stop-sharing-this-photo-of-antisocial-newspaper-readers-533200ffb40f
  • aprilapril Moderator Posts: 10,829 mod
    As it turned out, we always complain and nag for anything, right @NatashaT?
    The trick is how to tell people to be social, but do we have to be social all the time even for strangers in the bus or in the train?
    Is it so bad to have a moment for ourselves and do what we want?
    I don't care as long as they don't annoy me.
    A smartphone may distract me a bit, but I'm sure it won't control my life. :)
  • NatashaTNatashaT Posts: 1,047 Teacher
    You´re right, @april - I´d rather be social with my friends and family online than socialise with people on the bus, too! :)

    And sometimes having a distraction is a good thing - I don´t know why we (or is it just me?) always assume distractions are bad.
  • aprilapril Moderator Posts: 10,829 mod
    edited September 2017
    It depends on what kind of distraction, @NatashaT .
    Music is a nice distraction for example.
    We have here a TV game which is called Block Games, it is like a Tetris game.
    It's a game between two players.
    The presenter will ask a question and the first one who can give the right answer may put the tiles in a line that can give him points.
    However, whilst the player is focussing to create a line, the presenter keeps talking to him which sometimes distracts him that much that he makes mistakes with the tiles.
    And that is really an annoying distraction. :D

    (I'm watching him at this moment :) )

  • NatashaTNatashaT Posts: 1,047 Teacher
    @april that´s definitely an example of a bad distraction!!

    A good distraction is having a smartphone while you´re waiting for the bus to arrive... as long as it doesn´t distract you so much that you miss the bus! :D
  • Just-LearnJust-Learn Posts: 493 ✭✭✭✭
    I felt that there are some hidden messages permeated their talk!

    Can I say that @NatashaT ?
  • NatashaTNatashaT Posts: 1,047 Teacher
    Yes, you can @Just-Learn !

    But you should say it as ´I felt that there were some hidden messages permeating their talk´ (all in the past) ;)
  • aprilapril Moderator Posts: 10,829 mod
    Have we read about the danger of smartphones in trafic, @NatashaT ?
    I wonder if somebody could say that he / she never uses smartphones whilst driving.
    I admit, I use them as GPS, so my attention is sometimes not on the traffic.
  • NatashaTNatashaT Posts: 1,047 Teacher
    @april I don´t think we have, actually. That would be a good topic for another session.
    I hope that people are only using them as GPS though, and aren´t messaging or talking on the phone while they are driving.
    I can say that I don´t use them while driving, but that´s because I haven´t driven in a long time. :D
  • aprilapril Moderator Posts: 10,829 mod
    I use it as GPS, @NatashaT but it's really disturbing because I can't fix it well to be able to see my way correctly, not like a real Tom Tom with it's own holder.
    So from time to time, it falls face down and I have to grab on it and put it right up again but then I might touch the screen and since it's a touch screen device my screen with the information about how to drive to my direction will disappear .... and so on and so on.
    That's why I often get lost. :o :(
  • filauziofilauzio Genoa ( Italy )Posts: 1,918 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I don't really know if smartphones are making us dumber, probably they put us on the path to it though.
    What I think is that they can't be a solution for loneliness which afflicts much more persons that we could expect, especially among adults.
    In this respect, maybe, distractions would work as a relief for people, who this way convince themselves that still many friends would like to keep in touch with them and, possibly, even keep hanging out with them.
    However, adulthood is a condition which ineluctably, inexorably bring all its members, both willing and unwilling ones, to disrupt former connections. Many factors lead to it: either you make a family, or starts working seriously on a full-time job, sometimes even get a job abroad.
    Then you can still have a few close friends, your confidants; but more frequently they are just colleagues, coworkers or nodding acquaintances. They are what make up the WhatsApp's list on your smartphone, apart from relatives and family members.
    Therefore your smartphone's community is just a make-shift substitute for the friends' community of your youth.
    When I need to confide secrets, inner thoughts, concerns to a confidant, I prefer to rely on the one/two of them or on a book.
    That's the reason why my smartphone, on entering my home, had to take its place as a discreet useful terminal by which to keep in touch, from time to time, with acquaintances and colleagues, not much more. It has to follow the home's rules too: no loud ringing, no insistent buzzing, especially when I'm absorbed in my relieving reading.
    My smartphone shouldn't think I could confide in it just because my face gets easily submerged in the halo of its enlightened screen: that's not affectionate devotion; that's just battery's window dressing... till its power's exhaustion.
    I think the smartphone should respect your priorities, before starting to encroach upon your lifestyle.

    This is the point of The Amish community too. They are a religious community, whose larger groups are settled in a few US states and in Canada. I read an article about them and it were amazing. Their rigid abstinence from many kinds of technology has left parts of their lifestyle frozen back to the 19th century. They have no cars, no TVs, no connection to electric supplies. Their simple way of life is based on the idea of recognizing the value of agreed-upon limits.
    I admit that, in my point of view, they are a bit too exaggerated, but I appreciate the coherence.
    With regard to smartphones and computers, they allow their use at work but forbid it at home.
    They live in rural communities where sociality lies mainly in farming work alongside with each other. The only anti-social behavior would be keeping on one's own, scrolling through one's phone.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amish

    glad to stop strict diet, splashed in belly flop? Don't care you're not light, here on English hop !
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