Smartphone Safety

Smartphones have changed the way we live our lives, providing countless benefits. However, technology can also create hazardous situations. Smartphones can be a huge distraction for pedestrians and drivers alike. Whether at home or on the go, it is imperative to keep smartphone safety top of mind. 

The impact of smartphone usage 

Using a smartphone or cell phone distracts you from other tasks at hand. Additionally, research suggests there are negative effects from just having your smartphone near you.  

Today’s modern world is arguably busier and more distracting than ever before. When you add devices like smartphones into the mix, you are guaranteed to lack focus on the things occurring around you. Using these devices while completing other tasks hinders concentration and performance, and research that shows that it can impact cognitive abilities even when not in use. 

Brain Drain: The Mere Presence of One’s Own Smartphone Reduces Available Cognitive Capacity reports findings that indicate that even the mere presence of an individual’s own smartphone affected test scores that targeted attention and problem solving. More specifically, the two measures of cognitive capacity focused on in the study were available working memory capacity and functional fluid intelligence.  

The researchers asked participants to place their smartphones in one of three places: 

  • Inside on the desk they were working at 
  • In their pocket or bag 
  • In another room completely 

Even though the smartphones didn’t receive any notifications or alerts during the testing process, the individuals who had their phones on their desks did worse on the test than those who had it in their pocket or bag. Furthermore, the participants who had their phone in their pocket or bag performed worse than those whose phone was in another room.  

After the testing process, participants were asked how much they were thinking about their smartphone during the test. The most common response was not at all, even though the test scores clearly showed a relationship between how close the phone was to the person and the score they received on the test. It was concluded that an individual does not actively need to be thinking about their smartphone for it to affect cognitive capacity. 

Smartphone safety at work 

Being aware of the pros and cons of devices at work and drafting effective smartphone policies is an essential part of safety protocols. Some employers that provide smartphones as part of their jobs or contracts may also block certain services or sites that could be distracting to workers. Or they may have rules in place about how to communicate and what kind of information should be sent and received using a company cell phone.  

Above all else, ensure workplace policies and local laws surrounding cell phone use are followed to reduce hazards.  

According to Fobes, “each employee loses 720 work hours due to distraction every year, and companies lose that amount in equivalent profits. Smartphones top the list of office distractions, with the average person checking it 150 times a day.” 

Most recognize the dangers of using a cell phone while completing tasks but don’t realize that simply having a smartphone present can reduce one’s ability to focus and problem solve. When completing tasks that require your full focus, consider putting your cell phone in a different area where it won’t serve as a distraction. 

When used safely, smartphones can add value to our lives. However, it is important to remember the appropriate time to use them and when it is best to place them aside and give attention to the world around you. 

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