Phones were initially invented for just a call. And then came data. It went from usage to habit. And now we are hooked. New research shows that your phone is actually taking away your smile from you. Literally. University of Virginia conducted a research that shows people with smart phones smiled a lot less than those without them. Here are more highlights of this research. Strangers smiled less to one another when they had their phones in a waiting room.
- Participants were randomly assigned in pairs to have or not have their phones.
- Smiling behaviour was coded by trained researchers blind to hypotheses.
- It was concluded those who had phones in their hands while meeting others smiled a lot less.
Smile is a way to give your consent and show your interest while talking to someone
I went around telling friends and acquaintances about this survey. The reactions were interesting. “There was a time when children used to play in the evening. We used to sit together, have random conversations and laugh whole heartedly. But today, people are so busy in their gadgets, especially the mobile phones, that it has become everything for them. This is one of the reasons behind weakening of the social fabric these days.”, says Laxmi , a 47-year-old housewife.
How Phone Affects Why And How Much You Smile
In the research, people thought they were waiting for a researcher. While waiting, some were allowed to carry phones while some were not. Amidst this, researchers analyzed how the presence and absence of phone affected their behaviour towards strangers, smile most importantly. Why? Because smile is a way to give your consent and show your interest while talking to someone. “People with phones exhibited fewer smiles overall (and fewer genuine smiles), and spent 30 percent less of the time smiling than people who didn’t have their phones with them, signaling less interest in connecting with others,” writes Jill Suttie in her writeup of the research for UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center.
While we have phones, we laugh less
“While we have phones, we laugh less. Because phones bring a sort of distraction. We might be meeting people but we are still busy with our phones. I told my friend It was better if we stayed home because I could talk to him more on whatsapp than I was talking to him in person, because as usual, he was busy on his phone.”, says Tushar Gupta, a 21-year-old student from PPN Degree College, Kanpur.
Hampering The Social Fabric
To an extent us as the younger generation is a bit to blame. ” I don’t know why but people get so engrossed in clicking their photos and posting it instantly that they are no longer living the moment. With phone, this becomes easier because you have a camera, you have internet, you have social apps, all at one place. I’ve even seen people getting infuriated while there’s a network problem or they aren’t able to use their phones.”, says Dhawla Pandey, a 21-year-old student in Kanpur.
Don’t you call a person grumpy if they don’t smile? Well, it won’t be wrong to say that we ourselves are jumping into it. We are connected to thousand of people online but we don’t bother to smile to just one person sitting besides us. A sense of isolation is also introduced by phones which is clearly visible by the fact that we no longer want anyone to visit our home.” Being an ‘Introvert’ is becoming a new fashion. You might say you are social because you are connected to so many people online, but that’s all about virtual world. Are you really social in the real world too while you have a phone in your pocket?”, says Somya Jaiswal, a 21-year-old student from PPN Degree College.
It becomes a compulsion to move on to something else when you cannot get what you want. Same is the case with your phone. While you have a phone, you choose to use it instead of passing a grin at some stranger. However, as soon as your battery dies, or you get bored, you start paying attention towards the real world and yes, you do talk to strangers now. Passing a smile is not that difficult, realizing that something is hindering you from doing so is!
Anushika Srivastava is an Intern with SheThePeople.TV