Getting smart on smartphones

It can fit into the palm of your hand.

You can travel to the wonders of the world, chat with multiple friends, or Google a recipe with the swipe of a finger.

The smartphone is revolutionizing the way we communicate with the outside world. MCCC students voiced strong opinions about its successes and shortcomings.

“They do pretty much what a laptop does,” returning student Elizabeth Riley said.

“It’s replaced my laptop,” said Fine Arts-major Jesiqua Hutchison, who is the satisfied owner of an iphone.

“It’s pretty good. It’s better than the Androids.”

“It’s got a decent game selection,” she said about the iphone’s far-ranging features.

Hutchison said she also types papers through Google docs on her phone.

Riley, an accounting/nursing student, says her smartphone is “my little lifeline;” she has owned hers for five months.

Middle College student Michelle Baumgartner said she uses her phone to surf the internet, log onto social networking sites like Facebook and Tumblr as well as the video sharing site, YouTube.

Tiffany Hulett, another Middle College student, owns an iphone 4.

“I have everything here. It takes good pictures. Whenever I’m waiting I can listen to music,” she said.

Robin Lawson, a respitory therapy student, enjoys streaming music on her LG Android phone.

“You can tune out everybody else,” she said when she listens to music on the Pandora software.

Smartphones are not only useful for social interaction, but for academic purposes as well.

Lawson says one of the best advantages of her LG Android is the ability to take pictures of content discussed in her Anatomy class and ‘blow it up’ to use as a study aid for later.

Smartphone technology may have endless possibilities, but they are not free from their glitches and snafus.

“It’s nice. When you use the internet, the battery drains,” Baumgartner said about her Virgin mobile smartphone.

“If you download too many apps the memory fills up,” the freshman added.

‘Apps’ are applications used to navigate to a certain website or task.

“They always seem to have memory and storage problems,” Lawson said.

Hutchison said before she purchased the iphone, she had an Android phone. Not long after purchasing, she dealt with the consequences of a broken charge port and apps crashing on a consistent basis.

“I must’ve gotten a fluke,” she said.

Despite the cons to her Androids, she admitted that there was a pro over its competitor.

“The Androids had a far better camera. I had one that had an 8.60 megapixel,” she said.

Christopher Perria, a support staff member and science lab coordinator, has had his Droid X2 for almost a year.

“I like it. It’s pretty awesome. It saved my butt a few times,” he said.

A couple of those times happened to be when he lost power at his house and was able to stay connected to the internet during that time. When there was a car accident in the area, his smartphone gave alternate routes to take on his commute.

However, his Droid X2 is bought – for a price.

“I don’t like how much you have to pay for it,” he said.

Another annoyance was its short battery life, but he still remains satisfied with what he has.

“I’m trying to keep this as long as I can. I don’t need the most up-to-date thing,” he said.

Smartphones can become a safety and social net, but they can also be a trap for angst and addiction.

According to a medical community website called anxiety.org, smartphones may create an uptick in anxiety, as researched by a British psychologist, Richard Balding of the University of Worcester England.

One surprising fact about the study was that smartphone technologies did not solely induce stress when used in “professional settings” but when used in a social context. 

Smartphones themselves may stir up stress, but when a smartphone is taken away for a 24 hour period in a group of young people, signs of anxiety began to appear, according to a 2011 study.

This worldwide study, reported by cbc.ca, cited that the International Center for Media at the University of Maryland in College Park, Md conducted the study.”A clear majority” of almost 1,000 university students in 10 countries, including China, Chile, the U.K. and Uganda, were unable to voluntarily stay away from computers, televisions, cell phones and MP3 players for 24 hours.”

Susan Moeller, a professor of media noted that psychological distress took place amongst the students during the 24 hours.

“They expected the frustration. But they didn’t expect to have the psychological effects, to be lonely, to be panicked, the anxiety, literally heart palpitations,” she said in the news article.

One student from the University of Maryland in the article compared his technology fast to “missing a limb.”

Despite the fact that over 50 percent could not go without their phones for one day, hard statistics were difficult for certain countries because each one submitted data in different ways.

MCCC students and staff had mixed feelings about the smartphone’s possible ability to conjure tenseness and compulsive behaviors.

“I think it’s possible. It gives you a sense of dopamine rush and constant stimulation,” Perria said about people who check their phones constantly.

“If you’re constantly looking at everything, you can’t relax.”

He added that the best people cannot multitask, but it is best is to focus and increase productivity.

“I’m not super concerned with the health risks. It’s caused me to be less stressed out,” Hutchison said about using her iphone.

“It depends on how you’re addicted to it,” Lawson said.

Hulett, says she checks her iphone all the time.

“It’s always by me,” she said.

She added that a smartphone addiction shouldn’t be blamed on the device.

“I think it really depends on the person,” she said.

Dr. William McCloskey, Professor of English, may not have a smartphone, but he has observed its users from afar.

“I’m always surprised with people who have to talk so much. The more you connect with technology, the less you connect with the human side,” he said.