POLL: Do Cell Phones Make Us Less Socially Minded?

One University of Maryland study says, "yes." What do you think?

Last week, I took the drastic step of turning in my iPhone (err ... accidentally dropping it in water) and replacing it with one of those old flip phones.

You know, the kind of phone that takes two days to text a sentence. The kind of phone that you're pleasantly surprised to find actually takes pictures.

The move to a phone without all the smartphone bells and whistles seems counterintuitive to my recent endeavor to strengthen the relationships in my life, some of which I've almost let slip away entirely. No longer do I carry email, Facebook and Twitter on my hip. And my mom and sister will have to wait a little longer—until I get to a computer—for my next move in Words With Friends.

I felt that reconnecting with friends and family could be helped by cutting down on the unneeded distractions.

According to a recent study out of the though, I might have to go one step further and get rid of my phone entirely to make real progress.

Researchers at the Robert H. Smith School of Business found that even though cell phones are generally thought to connect people with each other, they may make users less socially minded, Medical News Today reported Tuesday. According to the study:

"The cell phone directly evokes feelings of connectivity to others, thereby fulfilling the basic human need to belong."

Medical News Today said this leads to a lower desire to connect with others or to be empathic toward others. Read more about the study and then take the Patch Poll: Do you think cell phones make us more or less socially minded?

Alan Hew March 01, 2012 at 07:13 PM
I think it depends on your habits and how the folks you want to be socially connected to communicate. I went from pager to cell phone to email to texting to Facebook all because my friends and social network moved that way however friends who didn't evolve got left behind socially. However now that I know certain people have instant availability via these devices and always see them on it when they are around me and they don't answer my call or text right back I take it personally so I guess it is sort of a catch 22.


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