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How Cell Phones Affect Social Behavior

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Today we live in a world where communication through modern technology is almost required. Everywhere people are texting, emailing, writing blogs, and tweeting. It’s hard to go anywhere without seeing someone using a phone or the internet to connect with others. Most people would feel lost without the use of their phones. Of course the use of technology can be good. It provides us with a faster, more efficient way to communicate with others. They also allow for easier communication with others that live far away, but many argue that modern technology, especially cell phones, have more of a negative effect on social interactions than they do a positive one. Studies have shown that using cell phones as a main form of communication hinders people’s ability to have face to face conversations, can trigger the feeling of loneliness, and can even become an addiction. Cell Phones and Social Interaction.

In today’s society, people develop and maintain social and personal relationships through the use of cell phones. Anywhere you go it is almost unavoidable to see someone on their cell phone. The use of mobile phones has produced a way for people to be in contact at all times, but they have also greatly effected ones capability to have a successful face to face conversation. Mediocre social skills were directly related to less face to face communication, and more communication by way of cell phone (Jin, 2013). When using a cell phone, you are unable to see the other person, which is usually important when having a conversation. By having a conversation face to face you are able to see gestures, facial expressions, and body language. Each of these components are key to having a successful discussion, and without them the context of the conversation can never entirely be understood. By using a cell phone, a person misses out on each of these components, overall hindering their conversation. Communication by use of phone almost always lacks emotional information and nonverbal cues given in a face to face conversation (Hwang, 2011). Gestures, facial expressions, body language, and how you use them is something that most people learn and develop while growing up. People are able to become good conversationalists due to practice speaking with others in person. When using a cell phone, people are not forced to use any of those mechanisms. Since people are no longer practicing social techniques, they become unfamiliar and sometimes uncomfortable, and when something becomes unfamiliar, people tend to avoid them. When social skills are avoided, the ability to use them decreases, which also decreases face to face communication. The less face to face communication a person has, the more likely they are to be lonely (Jin, 2013). Cell Phones and Loneliness

“Loneliness is defined as perceived deficiencies in one’s ongoing relationships” (Jin, 2013 p. 1095). Such deficiencies can occur for multiple reasons. For example, a person’s relationships could be less satisfying than one desires, or they could not have as many as they would like. According to Jin (2013) people that are lonely struggle with social communication and relationships. Lonely people have the tendency to view themselves, or others, more negatively than non-lonely people. This negative view on one’s relationships often causes lonely people to avoid social interaction (Hwang, 2011). Cell phones allow lonely people to temporarily fulfill the emptiness of relationships, however, without face to face communication; the loneliness will never truly go away.

This is because social skills and face to face communication are needed to develop intimate and lasting relationships (Jin, 2013). By using a cell phone to try to make those connections, people are avoiding the face to face aspect of communication. Until this aspect is met, the feeling of loneliness will always persist. Furthermore, “communication competence does not mean a single successful performance but rather, implies the comprehensive process of individuals’ skillful interaction” (Hwang, 2011 p. 926). Therefore, the feeling of loneliness will not disappear with one successful conversation, but rather with the practice of multiple face to face discussions, which ultimately builds relationships. If these relationships aren’t built and low self-esteem persists, then people are more likely to continue to use their cell phones as a way of communication, which could eventually lead to cell phone addiction (Hong, 2012). Cell Phone Addiction

Not only does cell phone usage hinder relationships and cause loneliness, but it is also very possible to develop an addiction to your phone. Mobile phone addiction can occur for many reasons, all which directly relate back to loneliness. Hong (2012) found that one reason for cell phone addiction comes from the use of social media influences. These include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. All of these social media sites use numbers as a way to determine your popularity. How many Facebook friends do you have, how many retweets can you get on Twitter, how many people like your picture on Instagram? The higher of a number people receive on each of these sites, the higher their self-confidence will be. If a person’s self-confidence is greater due to an app on their cell phone, the more likely they are to use their cell phone to make them happy, which leads to addiction.

Another reason for mobile phone addiction is directly related to how much a person uses their phone (Hong, 2012). In other words, the more a person uses their cell phone, the more likely they are to become addicted to it. This research mainly comes from the number of calls made, and the number of texts sent, however it is clear that apps (such as the ones stated above) also play a role in cell phone addiction (Hong, 2012). Mobile phone addiction can also stem from the power of being able to be whoever you want. When speaking through a phone, or over the internet, no one has a way to prove your actual identity. This triggers a feeling of power. This power can help fill a feeling of loneliness (Walsh, 2009). Since a person feels that their loneliness is gone due to using their phone, they are more likely to continue to use it because it makes them happy. Since they have a feeling of happiness while using a cell phone, this could lead to mobile phone addiction. Conclusion

In the world we live in today, the use of cell phones is almost required. Cell phones allow for faster and easier communication, but the excessive use of them has more of a negative impact, rather than a positive one. By using cell phones, face to face communication is viewed as a second choice. Picking up a cell phone to contact someone is easier than trying to find somebody and talk to them in person. However, by doing this the ability to develop close and intimate relationships is nearly impossible. In order to develop personal relationships, face to face communication is a necessity, but the use of cell phones is making that more and more unlikely. When a person does not have these familiar relationships, a feeling of loneliness occurs. When someone is lonely, they have a tendency to turn to a mobile phone to fill that emptiness. They are able to talk to people, even those they don’t know, which can take their mind off of not having actual close relationships. By using a cell phone to try to create these relationships, a person is more likely to become addicted to their phone. Poor social skills, loneliness, and cell phone addiction are all directly in relationship with one another. Even though mobile phones have made people’s everyday lives easier, they are also causing a negative impact on how they interact with one another.

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