ENVT 200 03

Are phones the biggest dopamine pills?

This is a slightly abstract idea I’ve been thinking about for the entirety of the course. I wrote my previous blog post about the fulfillment I achieved after putting away my devices and ridding myself of any sort of technological distractions. It was a huge success for me and I appreciated things I never noticed before. The plants, the stars, the people around me. Writing about this really solidified how I feel about technology, specifically cell phones.

Its no secret that we live in a cell phone dependent world. Imagine how lost you’d be if you had no maps to look up on a roadtrip. No people to text or call when you want to meet up. No contact list to store all of your favorite numbers. No 1,000 song playlist that you could play anywhere and everywhere you want when you need that little boost. No brilliant light to guide you, stimulate you, and distract you from the busy lives we’ve created for ourselves. It’s slightly daunting only because we’ve developed a world that revolves around spending time on cell phones, more specifically, smartphones.


Sure, they are very useful and make life just a little easier than it would be without them. So many important things can be done on a cell phone. You can talk to your friends and family across the globe, research your favorite recipe on the fly, take photos to preserve those cool memories when you travel, or start an activist cause or movement of change in a matter of minutes. But, I believe cell phones have become so useful, we’ve grown dependent of them. They’ve become such a crucial part of our lives, we often lose touch with whats around us. Whether that’s the things we’re destroying, the things we’re creating, the friends we’re making, the friends we’re losing, the people that pass us on the street, those in need of help, those who receive too much help. What we’ve come to know is what we see on our screens. More specifically, phones and applications within a phone are designed to trigger the same receptors in your brain as dopamine, which makes them so damn addicting. We’ve all experienced the oh so familiar “pull-out-my-phone-randomly-for-no-good-reason-but-to-check-social-media”. When someone likes our pictures, tags us in something, posts a cool picture, our brain releases a small amount of dopamine into our brain. Overtime, this leads to reliance.


While I don’t think this ‘directly’ relates to sustainability or environmental issues per say, I do believe the heavy reliance on technology, phones, and social media allow us to lose focus on the very things we want to change in the world. There’s so much beauty and wonder to be seen with our own eyes besides the LED screen in front of our face. I think seeing and experiencing the world in real time will have a much more significant impact on the soul rather than merely looking at a picture online. Feeling the air, the dirt under your feet. Seeing the colors all around you, and immersing yourself in the environment around you is such a magical thing. I’m not arguing that phones are bad, however I believe our time on these devices should be sparing and more time should be spent with eyes looking at planet earth before us. Only then will we begin to truly understand what changes need to be made to preserve the world.

2 thoughts on “Are phones the biggest dopamine pills?

  1. washingtontm

    I agree with you! We have become dependent on our phones, but in the world that we live in, is that such a bad thing? Phones make our lives 10x easier and we are able to accomplish more. I do agree that we do not pay attention to the environment around us enough. We are going to have to find that happy median between using our phones as a tool to navigate life and understanding the interconnection we have with nature,

  2. sandersjc

    I really enjoyed this post! Honestly this is something that really annoys me about people. I’m not the type to be on my phone when I’m having a conversation or hanging out with friends, and it really bothers me when others do this. I feel like they aren’t really paying attention to what I say, but, it does make sense when you consider their brains release dopamine every time their picture gets a like or someone texts them.

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