The idea of owning a pocket-sized computer with which we could communicate across the world would have been an interesting sci-fi idea in the days of pulp fiction. Yet now this has become a part of our reality. Not only are these mini-computers wonderful, but they’re getting better all the time.

The smartphones we carry with us have enormous computing and telecommunicating power. Early authors in the golden age of sci-fi, which kickstarted in 1938 and peaked in 1946, would not have been able to stop confabulating fantastic stories around them.

Yet, ironically, despite the enormous reach and possibilities that owning a mobile phone can give us, many people treat it as just another toy. They spend too much screen time, focusing on just a few of their favorite applications, like texting or social media or music. They don’t use their smartphones to live smarter lives.

Those who appreciate how much the delicate electronic device that they hold in their hands can improve their lives in a radical way, invest in a way to protect them. If, for instance, someone who appreciates their new iPhone Xs will embark on a quest for the best cases for iPhone Xs.

The fact is that since these devices have made our lives easier, helping us do things we would never have imagined possible, we need to make better use of them, handling them with greater wisdom and taking advantage of the many applications available to improve our lives.

Using Smartphones with More Wisdom 

As highly intelligent beings, we are always fascinated by things that stimulate our minds and make us feel good.

Smartphones give us access to novel stimuli and give us a dopamine hit. It feels good to text friends, to be approved for a post on social media, to listen to a favorite tune.

There is nothing wrong with this, of course. But we tend to overdo it. We tend to replace texting with real conversations, interacting on social media instead of developing real relationships, and listening to our favorite music all the time.

This addiction is no less harmful than someone who is addicted to good food. It’s fine to enjoy a little fine dining now and then; it’s when food becomes an addiction, when its used as a constant source of comfort, that it becomes problematic.

This is what our society is currently facing. People would rather spend time with their mobile devices than experiencing the fullness of life.

When it comes to addiction to mobile devices, it is not subtle.

In restaurants, people can frequently be seen looking at their mobile devices instead of the person they’ve come to share a meal with. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see a large group of people sitting in silence at a table, their eyes fixated on the device in their hands, not on the people around them.

In parks, people walking their dogs are often more interested in their mobile device than in spending quality time with their pet or the park.

On roads, people can be seen texting or chatting, instead of paying attention to the pedestrians, bikers, or other motorists.  A mobile phone in the hands of a distracted driver can cause mayhem.

Using Smartphones Better 

How do we get better at using any tool?

Usually by learning more about it. With smartphones, we usually end up only using a few apps.

Someone who travels a great deal but relies on maps or other people’s descriptions to find new places would benefit from befriending their GPS app.

Someone who is concerned about keeping their family safe could take advantage of using cell phone tracking apps.

It’s impossible, of course, to create a guideline, or even a short list, of which apps someone should begin using. First, there are numerous apps, with more being invented all the time. Second, each user must identify what is useful for them.

In closing, smartphones can be wonderful if we quit taking them for granted, quit using them to constantly shift from boredom to engagement, and quit using them to avoid live human contact. They can serve us well we learn how to use them with more wisdom and learn how to use more of their functionality.