When the iPhone launched in 2007, nobody had any idea just how much the smartphone would change lives. Nowadays, it seems impossible to meet someone who doesn’t have a Samsung or Apple hidden in their handbag or pocket, or even being used right in your face while you’re trying to have a chat with them. There’s no denying that smartphones have completely changed the way we live, but what are some of the most monumental ways they’ve impacted our lives and is it for the better or worse?
1. Our Children’s Safety
There’s both good and bad to be found here, with Roy Morgan reporting that 91% of teenagers aged 14 to 17 have smartphones. On the one hand, it’s great that our children have a way to stay in touch in an emergency, but on the other, smartphones lead to a whole new world of dangers for them, from online predators to the capturing of information and images that can stay around forever.
2. Instant Access to Information
Mothers will be especially guilty of this, but having a smartphone at the ready means you can Google just about anything you want an answer to. Rather than using it for factual information and the weather, most of us like to look up symptoms we might be feeling or solutions to parenting problems, sometimes making matters worse for ourselves.
3. Shopping and Consumerism
As parents, it’s great to have an easier way to order takeaway, buy new clothes for the kids, and do our weekly grocery shop all from the palm of our hand. Smartphones have certainly made it easier to get the mundane jobs done when you’re on the go, and for that, we’re eternally grateful.
4. Capturing Life’s Precious Moments
The babies and children of today will have photo albums that far exceed earlier generations, thanks to the smartphone. Nowadays, parents can click away with their phones and capture images every day, share them on social media, or keep them for themselves. Having a camera on you at all times means you’re more likely to snap the mundane stuff too, which can be even more enjoyable to look back on.
As women, we’ve never had such access to health and lifestyle trackers before, and there are many ways our smartphones can help us lead a healthier life. Whether you use an ovulation or period tracker, keep a record of your nutrition and fitness, or rely on an app to remind you of your baby’s immunisation schedule, your phone can seemingly do it all.
6. Cooking and Nutrition
Gone are the days of the dusty old cookbook handed down from generation to generation. Now that we have smartphones, we have a world of cuisine at our fingertips. There are even apps out there that allow you to plug in the ingredients you have on hand, and it will show you what recipes you can create with them. This can save busy mums time and money, and they’re great for all cooking skills level.
Smartphones have completely changed the way we work out, giving us more options than ever. There are apps that allow you to do a complete yoga workout in your lounge room with a guided instructor, some that track a running path for you and record your best times, and playlists on your favourite streaming service that can motivate you through the toughest workout. However, try to avoid texting as you hit the treadmill, as studies have shown it can reduce the positive effects of exercise if you’re paying attention to your screen instead of the workout.
One area that seems to suffer for some, thanks to smartphones, is our relationships. A study published in the Journal of Development showed that just under half of the participants felt they were guilty of looking at their phones rather than their children at least three times a day. It’s not just children who take notice, though. Many of us know what it feels like to be at the receiving end of someone who would rather look at their smartphone than make eye contact with us.
Using Your Smartphone Smartly
There’s no doubt that smartphones will be heralded as one of the biggest and most influential devices in history, and it’s hard to remember a time before them. Although they can be hugely beneficial in our lives, and for mums especially, there needs to be a line drawn about their appropriate use.
There’s nothing wrong with taking a break and zoning out now and then or scrolling through your Facebook feed from time to time, but if you feel you’re becoming too reliant on your trusty smartphone, it might be time for a self-imposed screen break.