x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Not a smart choice?

There is nothing smart about owning a smartphone if we don't know how to use them

The smartphone has become an indispensable part of our lives. It’s like the Swiss Army knife of gadgets – a GPS system, voice recorder, digital camera, home automation controller, computer, gaming device and so much more. Isn’t it then surprising that in the UAE, which has the highest smartphone penetration in the world, the most popular handset for sale in the third quarter last year was the Nokia 101/1010, one of the cheapest on the market and with the least functionality?

This makes sense when you take into account the growing frustrations smartphones cause their owners. Take Jan Bakowski, for example, who told The National how he feels ignored when his smartphone-wielding friends give their attention to checking messages on their phones instead of interacting with him.

Smartphones have equal potential to make our lives easier or to tear them apart, with many studies finding that – paradoxically – they make us disconnect from each other, distract our attention from the present moment and take a toll on close relationships. That does not mean we should ditch them altogether – just that we should be smarter about how to use them and their many capabilities to make our lives easier.