ENVT 200 03

How Friendly are our Smart Phones?

Without it there is a very high probability I would miss my morning classes, get lost driving to the doctors office, and find myself having nothing to procrastinate with; this especially would be tragic. In the 1990’s technology had made a major advancement in the innovation of smartphones. People no longer needed to scavenge for a payphone nearby to return the call coming in on a pager. We got rid of the wires on our home phones as well, allowing us to be mobile as we communicated. Everything was moving faster and people were realizing smartphones were making communicating and working more efficient and quick. I believe the majority of persons in our world today consider their smartphones as an essential consumer product in day to day life. Our smartphones have the ability to structure our entire schedules, we are so reliant that we could not bare to live without them.

Image result for iphone

I decided to do further research on this essential consumer product of modern life to find out what it’s cons are, because it is easier to spot its pros. One negative attribute smartphones have been associated with is human social life and health. Scientists have been questioning the impacts of electromagnetic waves on human brains. Tests have shown that the impact of the waves are linked to cancer development (Miakotko). Studies also have shown that the more time spent on ones smart phone is associated with neck, shoulder, and thumb pains. (Miakotko) These are all attributes of modern Homo sapiens that anthropologists thousands of years down to road will be studying about us! However, as mentioned before, our smartphones have major positive social impacts as well. Smart phones can also improve health through various apps offered on the phone that improve human fitness. These apps include notifications that remind people to exercise or make healthy eating habits. Also, in 2015 Apple launched an app “ResearchKit” which is prominent in the medical world. This app offers tools for creating research apps for workers in healthcare who share each others insights of diseases and conditions. (Carphone Warehouse) This is an app that is spreading knowledge worldwide at a very fast rate.

When talking about environmental impacts of the smartphone, this is what humans tend to forget about. The smartphone can spread knowledge and ideas about sustainable living and protecting the environment, however, the irony is that the device itself is very harmful to our planet. Smartphones are made up of toxins such as arsenic, lithium, copper, lead, mercury, and zinc. The smartphone is a big contender to our planets E-waste crisis, which is the recycling of electronics. First, it is crucial to know the lifecycle of an average smart phone. It starts out with extracting raw material from the earth and processing them before the phone is manufactured. This first step alone is causing a major decrease in our natural resources such as copper and gold and more and along with this, the device yields an exceptional amount of energy and water. The first few steps in creating the smartphone are not environmentally efficient because “It is estimated that over 220 pounds of mine waste is generated to extract the gold for a circuit board of just one cell phone” (Jones-Greeniacs). It is when the phone is manufactured that it really starts having big negative impacts on our environment by polluting factories. The manufacturing plants also burn a considerable amount of fossil fuels. This is also having an effect on the human population; the factory workers are exposed to toxic metals and chemicals when constructing the smartphones. The worst of it all is that every year 140 Billions cell phones, 4 phones per second, end up in landfills which drain about 80,000 pounds of lead into our soils and groundwater. (Jones- Greeniacs) Smartphones are very difficult to recycle at this rate, and makes us think, how bad do we really need these devices?






One thought on “How Friendly are our Smart Phones?

  1. prof.saunders

    Excellent post! I think about how attached I’ve gotten to my smartphone a lot (particularly when I panic when I can’t find it), and what kind of consequences occurred due to its production. Now you have me wondering about what anthropologists of the future will be thinking about us!

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