April 5, 2013

Cell Phones Turn 40

Does your phone keep you LESS connected?

Scott: The first cell phone call was made 40 years ago this week on a Motorola phone. Back then, cell phones were big, clunky and cost nearly $4,000. Owning one was a luxury.

Fast forward to today. Nearly 90% of Americans own a cell phone.

Cell phone user: I feel very naked without it.

Cell phone user: I have it on me all the time, so when it’s not there it just kind of feels like something’s missing.

Cell phone user: If you lose it, you kind of lose contact with almost everyone around you. It’s so hard to … up because we rely on it so much.

Scott: So, we are more connected now because of cell phones, right? Well, maybe not.

Sherry Turkle: Texting gives us the feeling that we can hide from each other. We can construct our texts to be who we want to be. We don’t reveal, we don’t become authentic in the way we would in a full and rich conversation.

Scott: While we might be able to communicate with each other 24/7, new research shows technology can actually make us feel less connected to one another.

Hannah: My friends, the people who I consider close, like, I text them all the time. But at school, I don’t – sometimes don’t – even, like, go up to them and talk to them because, like, I can just text them later.

Liz: It’s a generational thing. Like, they don’t interact with their friends, so why would they have to interact with anyone else.

Turkle: One 16-year-old says to me, “I hope I learn someday how to have a conversation. But I don’t want to because it takes place in real time and you can’t control what you’re going to say.

Scott: And think about how often you are in a group and no one is talking face-to-face because they are all on their phones. Well, researchers say that disconnect is not only changing our brains. It is affecting our bodies.

Barbara Fredrickson: Just like we need to be physically active to keep up our health, we need to be socially active, connected face-to-face.

Scott: The study, to be published in Psychological Science, found that face-to-face interaction actually triggers feel good hormones, strengthens the nerves that connect the brain and the heart and helps regulate internal body systems like the cardiovascular system and immune responses.

Fredrickson: As we connect with people face-to-face, we are building skills for doing that and actually changing our biological capacity to connect. So the more time that we spend disconnecting, we kind of erode that biological capacity to connect to the point where people are unskilled or even afraid to connect.

Scott: Scott Evans, Channel One News.


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