Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
Wed, Jan. 29

Editorial: Smart devices are making us dumb, and rude

Link to study

Walk into a restaurant and you will probably see a couple enjoying a meal – while they’re looking at their cell phones.

After a long day of work you’re eager to get home and you’re wondering why the car in front of you isn’t moving when the light changed green five seconds ago, then you see they’re transfixed by their phone.

Stand in line at the grocery store queue, and you notice the person in front of you is staring at the phone, nearly oblivious to the clerk who is checking them out.

There is a Facebook video circulating, you probably have seen it. It was a test to see if strangers could abduct a child right under the nose of their father, who is focused on his phone.

The examples are endless. We’ve all seen rude behavior because of these handheld devices, but could our smart phones be making us dumber?

The American Academy of Pediatrics released a study this month that says children younger than 2 who use handheld devices are at higher risk of speech delay than children who don’t.

In the study, 894 children between 6 months and 2 years were measured, and 20 percent of those children used a handheld device for at least 28 minutes daily, according to their parents. For each 30 minute increase in handheld screen time, researchers found a 49 percent increased risk of expressive speech delay.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has discouraged allowing children 18 months or younger from using any type of screen media.

If smart devices are limiting children in their development, what are they doing to the rest of us? Perhaps our brains are already developed enough that there is no impact. However, we have definitely become less considerate of others while our attention has been stolen by our phones and tablets.

We need to enjoy the moments more, live our lives; not read about them on Facebook. There is nothing more important on Twitter than the people in your lives, be them family or friends.

Smart phones were new, and they were amazing. It opened up a whole new world and have improved online communication. But, our fascination with it means it came at the expense of the people around us.

We should not dismiss the clerk checking us out at the grocery store, or the date at the restaurant, or our own child playing in the park.

It’s time to find a balance between the phone and the world around us. Boredom is no reason to be rude to people around you.

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