Cell phones affect boredom and creativity


In today’s world, people are attached to their cell phones. Smartphones, with their additional capabilities and internet access, have created the ability to always be connected.

Smartphones provide a bright and engaging world with fast paced games that are sure to be rewarding. However, these devices are also a source of burden. (Photo by Kaitie Fox)

But has the hyper-usage of cell phones eliminated boredom, as investigated by a recent CNN article?

Professor of communication arts Andrew Rudd thinks that is mostly true. Since phones provide more connectivity than ever before, boredom can be greatly reduced because there is always something to do.

Phones, Rudd said, “increase the possibility that we can always be ‘on’ and always connected to the world.”

There is always something to do on a smartphone. Because of this, it seems boredom is reduced due to the presence of multiple apps and games at a person’s fingertips.

“I always seem to be on my phone, either checking emails or responding to texts,” said senior Bible and theology major Mike Barnes. “Sometimes it becomes so burdensome that I wish I didn’t even have it.”

Dependency on technology, including phones, “gives us an illusion of omnipresence and omniscience,” Rudd said. They allow people to have the feeling that they can “always be everywhere, all the time.”

Using a cell phone or smartphone provides a lightning-fast, impersonal connection.

It is the opposite of an “active engagement in the here and now,” Rudd said, which is vital to human interaction.

The effect of cell phones on human creativity is also something to be considered. A person’s creative abilities may decline due to their constant phone usage.

Psychology professor Matt Phelps said reliance on phones can be a hindrance to a person’s learning ability.

“We can only attend to, and process deeply, a very small fraction of what’s in our environment,” Phelps said. “If we devote attention to our devices while we’re learning or driving, then we have problems with memory and perception.”

Both Rudd and Phelps stress the importance of face-to-face interaction and its contribution to healthy human development—the opposite of what the smartphone offers.

“We were built to exist in a physical environment,” Phelps said. “Be where you are.”

Ian Chandler is a contributing writer for The Aviso AVW.

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