Disadvantages of Smart Phones

by Joe Butler

Even a decade ago, few of us would have envisioned the amount of things we’re able to do with our phones. For about 100 years, a phone was simply a tool used to talk to another person; it was not used to take pictures, send messages or play games. Smartphones do have advantages, such as driving navigation, keeping track of our lives, watching movies and keeping ourselves and our kids occupied. However, there are some disadvantages as well.

Extra Cost

Budget-savvy consumers can find a lot to like with a traditional, non-smart phone. Even the basic phones include a few extras, such as voice mail or a calculator, but they definitely do not have all the bells and whistles – or the price tags -- of their smarter brethren. Verizon, for instance, offers basic phones for $50 to $90 compared to $200 to $300 for most smartphones. Basic phones still can require a basic subscription plan, depending on your carrier, but won’t need the data features, which can significantly raise the monthly cost.

Decreased Interactions

The site Big Think, which promotes opportunities to focus on significance, relevance and application in a busy world, criticizes smartphones for taking us away from using our senses to understand and appreciate the world around us. Since it’s easier than ever to connect, check email or interact with others through our phones anywhere and anytime, we begin to prefer this type of interaction, according to the site. The site recommends taking time each day to tune out the phone instead of using our phones to tune out the world.

Extra Work

Though your boss still may give you a call after hours in an emergency situation, smartphone owners seem particularly prone to check in with work on a regular basis. These workers tend to respond to email or wrap up a project even after they’re far from the office at the end of the work day. Melissa Gregg of Sydney University has studied the role of mobile technology, and she says that staying in touch with the office remotely gives us freedom, but it also keeps us on a tight tether and cuts into family time.

Security Risks

Vigilant smartphone owners are bombarded with messages about not letting their phone leave their sight, since a smartphone could be a wealth of information -- names, phone numbers, passwords, possibly confidential work information -- to an identity thief. Some people even do business or online banking through their phones, so a thief could acquire proprietary information or financial data. Along with physically stealing the device, people can also infect your phone with malware or try to access its data through a wireless network. A basic phone owner may still have contact information on their phone, but won’t have to worry about someone accessing a larger virtual paper trail.

About the Author

Joe Butler has been part of the journalism and marketing side of newspapers in Washington and Idaho for more than 20 years, ranging from small weeklies and dailies to larger metro papers to still-developing online platforms. He has a Bachelor of Arts in mass communication from Central Washington University.

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