Impact On Cognitive Abilities
While smartphones are practical, they don’t really make us smarter. They are becoming increasingly capable of thinking for us, being used as appointment calendars, internet portals, calculators, GPS, gaming devices, news sources, and much more. Smartphones seem capable of performing an almost limitless range of cognitive activities for us, but this basically makes us lazier. When was the last time you tried to read a map?
Moreover, experts suggest that phone use can impact children’s social and emotional development. Though young children engage very well with smartphones and tablets, and it might be tempting to use the devices to entertain them, it’s not necessarily a good idea. Researchers from the Boston University School of Medicine have studied the effect of smartphone and iPad use among very young children and said they have a detrimental effect on their social and emotional development. They become especially problematic when replacing hands-on activities that help develop visual-motor and sensorimotor skills. There are still many unanswered questions when it comes to how these devices influence child development, and researchers still question how they may interfere with the problem-solving skills that are better acquired during unstructured play and interaction with other children.
Again, these are preliminary studies as we’re still at the beginning of understanding the potential short-term and long-term effects that smartphones use might have on the brain. While mobile devices are certainly bound to have some health detriments, researchers suggest that we have yet to fully understand how they might also benefit the brain.