SmartPhones are making us Dumb – Financially & Mentally

SmartPhones are making us dumbI went to a restaurant for dinner yesterday. When I had a look around, most tables were occupied by families, friends and couples. There was one thing common across all tables – Smartphones. Most customers kept fiddling with their smartphones be it surfing, messaging, social media talking on the phone or clicking photographs. What was meant to connect us all has, in fact separated us today – at least in that restaurant but I know its no different at any other public place. (check video at the end of this post – may make you cry)

I felt it is true when they say that for some of us, our smartphone is our best friend and for others it is an extension of themselves. We take it everywhere with us from the shower to the lunch table and when we are going to bed. Most of us also see the updates on our smartphone, the moment we get up in the morning. Basically, smartphones are taking over our lives and maybe some of us are getting addicted to our phones. Excessive use of smartphones is creating problems like ruining social interactions, physiological problems and health issues.

Few Facts – ET Brand Equity survey (young people)

  • 97% of young people in metros own mobile phone
  • 98% young people use mobile for internet surfing/watching online videos
  • Shocking (at least for me) – Mobile phones used more for – 58% said Internet & 42% Call/text
  • Average mobile phone bill Rs 550 – Delhi & Chennai Rs 700
  • Mobile phone expenses/bills are in the top three expenses (17% share of wallet)
  • Most of smatphone addicts are suffering from OCD (obsession compulsive disorder)

And what about this 🙁

A third of all divorce filings in 2011 contained the word “Facebook,” according to Divorce Online. And more than 80 percent of U.S. divorce attorneys say social networking in divorce proceedings is on the rise, according to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

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Let us see the ways in which our financial life is affected by smartphones –

1. Phone Bills – We do everything on our smartphones – keep in touch with friends, check mails, book tickets, play games, listen to songs. We take expensive mobile plans leading to increased usage of the phone. Our bills also increase over a period of time as we use the phone without any restrictions and many of us realise that we are paying a lot very late.

2. Buy latest gadgets – In earlier times, mobile phones were a luxury and simple. You used it to call or message and play the odd game which came preloaded. Today we all want the latest phones with the latest technology. Earlier there used to be one telephone instrument in the house for the entire family (and sometimes for the neighbours as well). This instrument used to last forever. But today we keep buying new phones and discarding the old ones. This leads to our budget going overboard.

3. Losing your smartphone – Losing a phone is a nightmare for us. When we lose a phone, we not only lose an expensive gadget but there are photos, videos, messages and notes in it. Some of us have passwords, financial information stored. A person with bad intentions could misuse this information leading to financial loss and mental trauma as well.

4. Online Shopping – We have numerous sites selling all kinds of products. They have eye catching deals etc. Many people browse through these sites and end up buying a lot of products which might be unnecessary. Unnecessary shopping on your fingertips can be harmful to your financial health.

5. Cellphone addiction affects studies, work and business – Students getting distracted by smartphones will not be able to concentrate on their studies. This affects their academic performance negatively. It also affects all round development which is not very good in the long run. Employees are busy texting and checking notifications on their phones and this leads to loss of productivity. If you are on social media platforms instead of concentrating on your business, you will end up losing revenue.

6. Lesser investment Returns – One study suggests, more changes you will make in your portfolio, lesser will be the returns – another study suggests more often you look at your portfolio, lower the returns.

Must Watch this Video

Basically smartphones are causing disruptions in our life – small ones or big. Here are some ways to get our lives back –

  • Do not buy the latest gizmo in the mobile phone market – You will be tempted to buy that expensive, fancy phone in the market. It will have loads of features and it will be a pleasure to use. But that exactly will make it easy for you to get addicted to it. Buy a simple phone that will satisfy your needs and not wants.
  • Do not download too many apps and games – Set rules for yourself for downloading. This will ensure that there are not too many things to do in your phone.Do not check your phone the first thing when you wake up. Enjoy your tea or read the newspapers or meditate or spend some time with loved ones. Your day will have a much better start and quality of life will definitely improve.
  • Self discipline in college and office – In office or college, keep strict time intervals (e.g. every 2 hours) to check your phone and ensure that you adhere to the schedule. Decide on a fixed time that you will use your phone as well. For example, you should allow yourself 10 minutes for a smartphone session and then stop it unless of course it is very urgent or an exception like connecting with someone after a really long time. This will ensure your productivity is optimum.
  • Control the usage of your phone -Do not check your phone every 5 minutes when you are at a dinner, party or place of worship. You are there for a purpose even it is to have fun at a party. Ensure you do that. Once you are back from office, keep the phone far away from you so that you spend quality time with loved ones. Avoid using the smartphone when you are talking, playing or eating dinner with family. This will limit your bills and you will have a more enriched life.
  • Notifications – notifications should be muted, specially whatsapp 😉

Do you feel you use your smartphone too often? Have you set any rules for yourself for smartphone usage. Do let me know your tips so that our readers do not get addicted to smartphones and ruin their financial & mental health. {If you like this article, must share with your friends}

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{ 59 comments… add one }
  • Ashutosh Shukla June 4, 2014, 11:47 AM

    Nice post Hemant..Great tips to strengthen the social life. Thanks

  • Ankur Jain June 4, 2014, 12:04 PM

    Very nice article, This is a known fact that you posted but still needs to be done again and again so that it is taken as a serious issue.

    People know the harmful effects, still it’s an addiction which needs rehab to get rid of… just like cocaine.

    I did a simple change and it reduced my addiction to almost 30-40% what it used to be. I changed my regular phone(voice&text) to a basic phone. For whatsapp, I use a smartphone without a SIM card which works only over WI-FI at home. Without 3G it’s useless outside home so I never carry it with me. The time spent at office/parties/friends is now without disruptions.

    I can respond to whatsapp when I return to home, I believe no whatsapp message is so urgent, if it is, you will get a call from that person, it can wait !!

    On a holiday, when I feel I’m spending too much time on my smartphone, I’ll turn it off and will put it in a closet so that I don’t go near to it easily…. it’s nothing less than a COCAINE !!

    • Rajiv Ahuja June 7, 2014, 8:27 PM

      Excepting taking out Sim card,I do the same. Also in case broadband review your scheme .

    • Hemant Beniwal June 11, 2014, 9:15 AM

      Excellent advice Ankur – I never thought on this line…

  • Sushant Mayekar June 4, 2014, 12:06 PM

    Eye opening article…..

  • Rakesh Rege June 4, 2014, 12:08 PM

    Very well written, Hemant. I do agree that we are getting addicted to these smartphones and it gets proved when we use smartphone calculator to do simple maths of 16*7 to take an example. My kid is 3 yrs old and wants to play Temple Run as soon as I reach home 🙁 I remember my childhood days when we were eager to go home to play with our friends.
    After reading this post, I have decided to follow few steps to start with and then minimise the use of smartphones.
    Thanks for such eye opener, as usual!!
    Rakesh Rege

    • Hemant Beniwal June 11, 2014, 9:18 AM

      Hi Rakesh,
      Same here – I have started leaving my ipad in office & no games on my mobile, other than “talking pierre” for my 2 yr old son 🙁

  • Vinayan June 4, 2014, 12:12 PM

    Very well said,
    But how do you make the younger guys understand
    Bu

    • Hemant Beniwal June 11, 2014, 9:19 AM

      Hi Vinayan,
      Its not only about young – level of usage can be different.

  • Hari June 4, 2014, 12:21 PM

    young guys are “screen slaves”

  • SIVA PRASAD June 4, 2014, 12:29 PM

    Nice Article, We can use ear phones, to lessen the radiation effect on our body to some extent.

    Thank You

  • Ashwini June 4, 2014, 1:18 PM

    A very good advice to cell phone addicts whether they are smart or otherwise.
    When I watch my maid doing her work and talking in the phone simultaniously it raises myBP levels. What she could have finished in 30 mts she takes one hour
    And then claims she is entitled to a raise since she is spending so much time doing my work. The less said about smart phone users the better. My 30 year old son thinks that I am missing out everything in life because I refuse to use a smart phone. I am person who would rather use a land line, talk to people personally and
    hold a book in my hand. It makes me feel so much more human in this age of automation

    • Hemant Beniwal June 11, 2014, 9:22 AM

      Generation Gap – may be we are too old to think like them 😉

  • ANkit Sethi June 4, 2014, 2:16 PM

    TRUE SAID!!!
    Impressed with the topic. Now a days, a person can live without food but not Cellphone!!

  • Shashidhar June 4, 2014, 3:36 PM

    Good One. Please check out an article by my friend Saritha Rai on the related topic

  • Jayanth June 4, 2014, 3:37 PM

    Hi ,
    Great article ..to bring our focus on a real problem.. however the smartphone addiction, as ankur has pointed out, is already here !! De-addiction camps have started coming up..!!

  • sanjay singh June 4, 2014, 3:50 PM

    Very true observation and Excellent advise.
    Its up to consumer who has to decide what matters most to him/her.
    “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” – Goethe

  • Nilesh June 4, 2014, 4:37 PM

    3 months back, when I got fed up with my employees using too much smart phones, I asked every body to leave the cell phones with me when they enter the office and take them back when they leave….. to my horror, 2 of them were ready to leave the job rather than comply with the rule……

    • Hemant Beniwal June 11, 2014, 9:27 AM

      Hi Nilesh,
      Definitely smartphone reduces focus but even I would have reacted like your employees 😉

  • R.Shankar June 4, 2014, 5:34 PM

    My elder son came from USA and given a moto G smart phone to my younger son who was doing +2 examination at that time. Now he scored only cut off mark of 195 for medical whereas requirement is 198+. This 3 marks dropped mainly due to sudden change in his mind due to smart phone. Now on daily basis , i am scolding but i have sent your topic also.
    Let us hope all fancy things will settle in days to come

  • Deepak G June 4, 2014, 5:35 PM

    Very nice article… I will try to follow your tips..

  • Bhavik June 4, 2014, 6:02 PM

    Oops I read thia article on my smartphone….

  • vinod June 4, 2014, 11:21 PM

    Hi Hemant,

    very good articulate …..fact…………but nobody will follow this .Evervybody read and forget it ……….if we apply in our life ………..have surprise happyness folllow ….

  • Amitesh Kishore June 4, 2014, 11:29 PM

    Nice observation Hemant. Though this prediction was done by Einstein about 70 years back, it has become a reality.

  • Shinoj Jose June 5, 2014, 9:33 AM

    Good write.
    One more update. Smart phone usage by small kids can cause brain growth retardation and behavioral problems – Found by some international medical research team. (Courtesy: Times Of India, Bangalore Edition)

    • Hemant Beniwal June 11, 2014, 9:35 AM

      This may be true Shinoj – not sure how our generation will fight this 🙁

  • Umesh Somai June 5, 2014, 12:33 PM

    Beautifully Explained,
    we must also look for the adverse health effects of the smart phones, specially in children.Another update, In Apple and Blackberry manuals it has been stated to use the phone at the distance of atleast 5-8th of an inch from our body.

    • Hemant Beniwal June 11, 2014, 9:38 AM

      Hi Umesh Ji,
      I never heard this “In Apple and Blackberry manuals it has been stated to use the phone at the distance of atleast 5-8th of an inch from our body.” but if its true, no one is following this 🙁

  • Jayant Gopinath June 6, 2014, 6:23 PM

    Very true Hemant. Sometimes Smart Phones are taking over our day to day lives. We forget where we are and continue getting engrossed in chatting or emailing or playing games. We then have no time for socializing and talking to friends. Words get shortened in S for yes and K for Ok.

    • Hemant Beniwal June 11, 2014, 9:39 AM

      Hi Jayant,
      Even in personal meetings – people say LOL rather than laughing 😉

  • shobha June 6, 2014, 9:43 PM

    i dont agree with this article because i saw it in my smart phone first

    people using smartphones are dumb smartphones dont make them dumb

    this is like telling ak47 killed all the people in 26/11. it is kasab having ak47 killed all those people

    • Hemant Beniwal June 11, 2014, 9:41 AM

      Hi Shobha,
      Agree with you but I think we can’t ignore this problem.

  • Chirag June 7, 2014, 10:55 AM

    I have a query about tax on short term capital gain in equity mutual fund. Does it also contains dividend given by in one year.

  • Raghvendra June 7, 2014, 11:31 AM

    Yes, it is an addiction. In India its may still be a disease but in singapore its an epidemic. I see couple going to beach only glued to mobile screens.
    They have some utility but one has to balance this utility vs personal life.

    One important fact to highlight here– while using a phone you turn your head down which restricts blood supply to optic nerves in eyes. Prolonged positioning of head in this way causes eye sight deterioration rapidly. I myself witnessed it and have a power of 0.75 from 6/6 in 3 years. Kids should note this or they need to raise mobile screens atleast.

    • Hemant Beniwal June 11, 2014, 9:44 AM

      Hi Raghvendra,
      Last year I went for 10 days trek in Himalayas – that was my best holiday trip, because I was not carrying my mobile 😉

  • Ashvin June 7, 2014, 5:31 PM

    Hi Hemant,

    I don’t agree with you because I am not sure whether this blog article is written either on smart phone or pad? How many of above rules do you follow yourself? I doubt if you say more than one. What the use of money if you don’t get satisfaction? You can spend Rs. 40,000 for a phone and you buy one of Rs. 4000, do you get satisfaction? What’s the use of rest of the money if you don’t get satisfaction? Anyway, it’s individual’s thinking. You are always worrying about future (self, family, children) and saving all money for it and I live in present. It’s not that I am not saving money at all but I enjoy today and not ruining present in the fear of tomorrow.

    • Hemant Beniwal June 11, 2014, 9:47 AM

      Hi Ashvin,
      Hope you will not compare me with Nirmal Baba 😉
      This article was not only about money – what about impact on health & social life.

  • Rajanna June 7, 2014, 9:00 PM

    Hi Hemant,

    Very well written article – holding smart phone has become a status symbol without knowing its bad effects. Since most of our work is done thru smartphones, we are losing the human touch which the younger generation is failing to understand or unmindful of the fact. Disheartening to note, the mobile phones have reached the precincts of temples as well which means, people do not have time even to pray for a few minutes peacefully in front of the God – very disturbing indeed

  • Dilip Rane June 7, 2014, 11:31 PM

    Hi Hemant,

    Very good article but

    What is wrong in buying costly smart phone if one can afford it without disturbing ones budget?

    What is use of technology development?

    Are we blaming new technology because we are not able to use it?

    Were the school boys not addicted to field games when smart phones were not there?

    New technolgy has brought more benifits along with some disadvantages. We can try to minimise disadvantages but can not afford to oppose technological changes.

    • Hemant Beniwal June 11, 2014, 9:53 AM

      Hi Dilip,
      I am not at all against technology but “ati sab cheez ki boori hoti hai”.

  • lakhbir singh June 8, 2014, 2:14 PM

    very truly
    sir the smart is fashion for people. can all people really need smartphone? as per my view their is only 20% people really need this. and balance only for only DIKHAVA to other peoples. everybody want to shown himself/herself busy in eyes of other people.

  • Vinod kumar Upadhyay June 8, 2014, 8:33 PM

    dear Hemand jee, u r right.smart phone is not only causing misuse of money but also precious time.its addiction is hampering relationship ,causing detrimental effect on eyes and thus health.

  • Nishi June 9, 2014, 10:53 AM

    A great post indeed.
    Well I want to share that my husband is not into social networking, smartphones, etc…. Even I go for facebook once in a 15 days, just to know what’s good/not so good happening to my family/ friends.

    I am a trader for pharmaceutical APIs and I have to use mobile phone for all the deals. Besides that I just hate my mobile phone. In fact for me “A day without mobile phone is a wonderful day”. I never use internet on my mobile bcoz it takes away my privacy, moreover I am least interested in knowing what people eat, wear, or where they visit or which movie they watch. I’m sure this is the only stuff which people share when they have internet on their mobile phones. 🙂
    Well, due to no internet on phone I miss notifications of this blog as well 🙂
    But I never miss a single post of yours as I just love reading your articles. Thanks for sharing this one.

  • Susanta, Bhubaneswar June 9, 2014, 1:51 PM

    a very good article. phone / smart phone is a necessary evil. we know the benefits of using phone, also know the problems. life is not as happy, as simple as before when we have no such connectivity. we know, we can not stop mobiles, and we do not know, we can not stop problems, unhappiness, too much tension and depression and other unknown diseases..
    thank you all for the posting on phone issues..

  • Debasish Paul June 10, 2014, 2:58 PM

    Very Very nice and releavant article. It’s a learning for me. Difficult to follow but not impossible.

  • Abhinav June 13, 2014, 1:13 PM

    Finally an article that agrees with me. I am still persisting with my non- smartphone device and have been soundly criticized for it as it does not have any apps. People have been taking a personal interest in getting me a smartphone but rankly I haven’t felt the need so far. I use my desktops at home or office for the internet and land lines for most phone calls. However, when my phone finally does give up, I will buy a smartphone. Whatsapp couldn’t be ignored forever.
    P.S: I am 25.

  • Raj June 17, 2014, 2:50 PM

    Hello Hemant,

    Nice article. your articles really educate us.

    Regards
    Raj

  • sanjay mahajan June 19, 2014, 11:56 AM

    good one

  • Brunetta June 26, 2014, 12:18 PM

    Couldnt agree more Hemant! Very well written. Appreciate your efforts in taking time out to share this with us. Thanks once again.

  • shivaprasad V July 1, 2014, 4:47 PM

    This is realistic what is happening in our life so we have to follow the rules and we should avoid smart phones to take over us

  • g mahesh March 25, 2016, 9:37 AM

    I agree with Hemant.I myself was fully addicted to internet usage on my smart phone.it effected my health,my sleed to an extent that i was not well for some days last year.Now i had removed the SIM from my mobile.no internet connectio, so no usage.i am beinng critisized by my colleagues.but i dont care.i am spending time with family and also doing workout.now i find time is available.now i am not all using mobile net.i am very happy now.

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