Do you constantly check your cell phone for e-mail alerts, news updates, and the weather? If so, you could be one of the 66 percent of people who suffer from “no mobile phone phobia” — nomophobia — the fear of being without a cell or mobile phone. Medical Daily reports:
Living in a revolutionizing digital age where everything is fast, instant and, most importantly, on-the-go, people are disengaged from having one-on-one face interactions. While Apple applications like FaceTime, and the program Skype help reinforce personal connections, the unhealthy usage of cell phone devices continues to escalate. According to the Morningside Recovery Rehabilitation Center, the average American spends 144 minutes a day using their phone. For those who suffer from nomopohbia, the fear of being disconnected from the virtual world is heightened when they are restrained from checking their phone. The lives of cell phone addicts are so contingent on their need to feel socially connected on their phones that without mobile technology, they begin to express a sense of vulnerability that can trigger certain moods and behaviors.
As a linguist, I wondered whether the time adults spend with their mobile devices might be affecting the way children learn language. Since the technology hasn’t been ubiquitous for long, research on this question is scarce. But other research on the effects of adult-child conversation makes a strong case for putting cellphones away when you’re around children. The Atlantic reports:
For a study published in the journal Pediatrics in 2009, researchers outfitted young children with small digital recorders, which captured the language each child heard and produced. The researchers could then identify and count the two-sided exchanges, or conversational “turns,” between children and adults. Subjects were also tested on a range of linguistic measures, from the earliest preverbal behaviors, to nascent phonology and grammar skills, to preliteracy and the integration of complex parts of language.
The children exposed to more conversational give-and-take scored higher at every stage of language proficiency. In essence, the children made greater linguistic strides when adults talked with them than when they were simply in the presence of language or even when adults talked to them. We learned long ago that children’s language abilities and eventual academic success are linked to the sheer volume of words they are exposed to early on. Now we have additional evidence that the quality of linguistic exposure, not just its quantity, matters.
Which is more important to you? Checking inane status updates or spending quality time with your baby?
That’s because Instagram isn’t about reality – it’s about a well-crafted fantasy, a highlights reel of your life that shows off versions of yourself that you want to remember and put on display in a glass case for other people to admire and browse through. It’s why most of the photographs uploaded to Instagram are beautiful and entertaining slices of life and not the tedious time in-between of those moments, when bills get paid, cranky children are put to bed, little spats with friends. Instagram Video and the Death of Fantasy
For the first time, a third of American adults own a tablet computer like an iPad, almost twice as many as the 18% who owned a tablet a year ago. So says the results of Pew Internet & American Life project’s just-released annual survey of tablet PC ownership.
One of the things that is especially interesting about tablet adoption compared to some of the patterns of other devices we’ve studied is how these technologies’ growth has played out between different age groups,” Research Analyst Kathryn Zickuhr said. “With smartphones, for instance, we’ve seen a very strong correlation with age where most younger adults own smartphones, regardless of income level. But when it comes to tablets, adults in their thirties and forties are now significantly more likely than any other age group to own this device.
The report is full of interesting details.
The proportion of US adults 18 and over who own a tablet PC nearly doubled in the past year, from 18% to 34%
Rich Americans are far more likely to own a tablet than the less affluent. Of those with household income greater than $75,000 a year, 56% own a tablet. People with a college degree are also tablet lovers: Nearly half of college graduates own a tablet (49%).
Adults in their late thirties and early forties have the highest rates of tablet ownership, whereas smartphones are most popular with younger adults ages 18-34, says Pew. Indeed, tablet ownership rates among adults age 35-44 is identical to tablet ownership rates among college graduates (49%).
Tablet preferences don’t cut along lines of gender, race or ethnicity: There are no “statistically significant” differences in tablet ownership rates between men and women, or across racial or ethnic groups. (That said, the women surveyed had a slightly higher tablet ownership rate than men: 35% of them own tablets, compared to 32% of men.)
50% of parents with children living at home own tablets, compared to 27% of non-parents. A year ago, only 26% of parents owned tablets.
A groundbreaking experiment that bombarded US high school students with inspiring text messages was found to be a success on all counts except one: it made no difference to how the students performed in school. The Guardian:
Roland Fryer, an economist at Harvard University, helped establish the experiment involving nearly 2,000 pupils at state schools in Oklahoma City.
The students were given free mobile phones in return for receiving daily texts written by a trend-setting advertising agency, encouraging them to stay in school and study for exams.
Many of the students correctly answered quiz questions showing they had paid attention to the messages – but the nine-month-long randomised field study failed to find any improvement in the students’ academic results or attendance.
Fryer concluded that while the daily diet of texts changed pupils’ views about the value of education and caused them to say they were working harder in school, “there was no measurable increase in educational attainment or achievement”.
The aim of the study was “to assess whether students better understood the link between human capital and outcomes”, Fryer wrote in a working paper just published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.
The texts were sent at 6pm each day, including weekends – calculated as the best time to reach the sixth and seventh grade students, aged 12-13.
As a culture we have moved into a realm where the consumption of news is a near-constant process. Users with smartphones and tablets are consuming news in bits and bites throughout the course of the day — replacing the old standard behaviors of news consumption over breakfast along with a leisurely read at the end of the day. Richard Gingras, Senior Director, News & Social Products at Google [source]
While they haven’t started smashing their smart phones on purpose, young people are turning their cracked cell phone screens into the latest in shabby chic. Or is that trashy tech? From Erie Times-News:
Whatever it is, it’s catching on as fast as torn T-shirts and ripped bluejeans. Once considered mortifying — damage requiring immediate repairs or replacement — the spider webs of a cracked smart phone screen increasingly are seen by teens and 20-somethings as inevitable badges of honor, cool battle scars that impart a kind of rough street cred in the mobile world.
“It’s an accident when it drops, but nobody wants to pay the money to get it fixed,” explained 18-year-old Kaitlyn Wilson of Liberty, Mo., who recently was visiting a Kansas City, Mo., Apple store. “So, whatever, you have a cracked phone. If you were the only person with a cracked screen, you would probably run out to get it fixed. But everybody else’s is cracked, so why not leave it?
“A cell phone is their peer umbilical cord, their whole social life,” he said. “But it’s a fragile instrument. So in a way a cracked cell phone that still works means, ‘Hey, my phone may have hit the ground, but it’s a survivor.’ And by extension the phone’s owner is a survivor, too, because it’s a reflection of them.”
The latest edition of the annual Internet Trends report finds continued robust online growth. There are now 2.4 billion Internet users around the world, and the total continues to grow apace. Mobile usage is expanding rapidly, while the mobile advertising opportunity remains largely untapped. The report reviews the shifting online landscape, which has become more social and content rich, with expanded use of photos, video and audio. Looking ahead, the report finds early signs of growth for wearable computing devices, like glasses, connected wrist bands and watches – and the emergence of connected cars, drones and other new platforms.
People check their phones an average of 23 times a day for messaging, 22 times for a voice call and 18 times to get the time.
More than 500 million photos are shared every day
Snapchat, the app that self-destructs messages and photos within 10 seconds, has seen huge growth. About 150 million photos are shared on Snapchat a day.
Twenty-four percent of the world population shares “most things or everything” – although only 15 percent of Americans admit to sharing most or everything online
iPad has grown three times faster than iPhone did.
Twenty years ago, a $300 Montblanc pen was one of the most coveted and costly graduation gifts. But today, hardly anyone clamors over them, much less an expensive one. It turns out grads want MacBooks and iPads — new tools of the digital age. From Mobiledia:
… handwriting isn’t just a matter of style — it’s a complex skill that affects your cognitive development and exercises your visual, motor and memory circuits. When you write, you build hand-eye coordination and practice fine motor skills. Pencil and paper are the most accessible and often used tools.
In fact, a field of research, called “haptics,” focuses on that connection of touch, hand movement and brain function. It shows that handwriting engages different brain circuits than typing doesn’t.
According to brain imaging studies, cursive, especially, activates parts of the brain that stay quiet during typing. “It helps you connect things,” said Virginia Berninger, a professor of educational psychology at the University of Washington. “There really can be some advantages to cursive. We found individual differences whether children had skills for each kind of writing.”
Are too many parents distracted by mobile devices when they should be watching their kids? A recent rise in injuries, reversing the longstanding trend, has doctors worried that the answer is yes. The WSJ reports:
Is high-tech gadgetry diminishing the ability of adults to give proper supervision to very young children? Faced with an unending litany of newly proclaimed threats to their kids, harried parents might well roll their eyes at this suggestion. But many emergency-room doctors are worried: They see the growing use of hand-held electronic devices as a plausible explanation for the surprising reversal of a long slide in injury rates for young children. There have even been a few extreme cases of death and near drowning.
Nonfatal injuries to children under age five rose 12% between 2007 and 2010, after falling for much of the prior decade, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, based on emergency-room records. The number of Americans 13 and older who own a smartphone such as an iPhone or BlackBerry has grown from almost 9 million in mid-2007, when Apple introduced its device, to 63 million at the end of 2010 and 114 million in July 2012, according to research firm comScore.
An Indian daily wage laborer talks on a mobile phone, at a construction site in Bhubaneshwar, India. (AP Photo/Biswaranjan Rout)
Quartz reports on a surprising statistic revealed in a UN Report:
… the UN reports there are now more people with mobile phones (six billion for world population of seven billion) on earth than there are with access to clean toilets (4.5 billion).
That phenomenon is easily visible in Indonesia, for example, where it is common to see people who live in metal roofed shacks without bathrooms surfing Facebook on their smartphones or feature phones. And it shows how, in the developing world, multinationals are often better at responding to peoples’ needs than governments are.
Open defacation, while not widely discussed, causes illnesses such as diarrhea that kill 4,500 children daily. Poor sanitation also hobbles emerging markets economically. According to the UN, the problem costs India $53.8 billion a year, while Nigeria loses $3 billion annually.
Save the Children has just issued its 14th annual State of the World’s Mothers report, an overview of maternal and newborn survival in 186 countries, a summary of progress and challenges. The report confirms that the birth day is the riskiest day for newborns and mothers everywhere. Many factors impact maternal and newborn mortality, and a wide range of interventions are being successfully implemented in areas of great need.
Empowering expectant and new mothers with critical health information is one solution and through the ubiquitous mobile phone, information can reach girls and women in even the most remote settings. Easily understood messages about health, hygiene, early warning signs throughout the stages of pregnancy, and the care and feeding of newborns empower a mother with knowledge to make healthy decisions for herself and her baby.
In December 2011, the Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA) announced its first shareable resource: a set of adaptable mobile messages. These messages provide basic, stage-based health information in text or voice format, localized to meet country needs. These free, adaptable messages have been downloaded by over 150 organizations working in 50 countries, and have been translated into 10 languages.
The proliferation of mobile phones in low- and middle-income countries over the past decade has been rapid and remarkable. This boom in mobile technology offers an incredible opportunity to provide historically marginalized groups, such as girls and women, with increased access to information and education to improve their health and wellbeing. Forbes:
… 39% of women interviewed expressed an interest in receiving health information through their mobile phones. The speed and remote abilities of telecommunications can help connect many women to health care services and facilities. Low- and middle-income countries accounted for more than 80% of the 660 million new mobile-cellular subscriptions added in 2011, with more than 1 billion subscriptions belonging to women.
The benefits of mobile technology reach far beyond the bounds of health in empowering women. For example, 41% of female mobile phone owners enjoy increased economic and professional opportunities due to owning a mobile, and 85% report feeling more independent because of their mobile phone.
1stfone is a credit card-sized mobile device designed for children aged 4 to 9. A more attractive alternative than the Samsung I recently bought for my daughter. PSFK reports:
While the 1stfone has no screen, internet access or texting capability, it does have customizable buttons and can be programmed with important numbers so that children can keep in touch with the people they need.
The phone is designed to keep children safer from bullying and enable them to make or receive a call when they need to. It can hold up to twelve numbers and is available in different colors and styles. Parents decide who the phone can call, providing them with peace of mind and a first phone for their child.