ByLillian Tague, writer at

How many times have you looked at your smartphone screen today? SmartPhones can benefit us by providing wide mobile communication, therapy, a convenient work space, navigation services, and can also save lives. SmartPhones, although commonly seen in a negative light, can be very beneficial to our lives, if used wisely.

SmartPhones can be very beneficial when handling stress. As a student close to graduation, stress is a daily struggle. For many people, especially those in the working class, life can put a lot of stress on the individual. One thing that assists people in dealing with stress is listening to music. Which is one thing the SmartPhone can make available to you. Current findings indicate that music around 60 beats per minute can cause the brain to synchronize with the beat causing alpha brainwaves (frequencies from 8 - 14 hertz or cycles per second). This alpha brainwave is what is present when we are relaxed and conscious. Having access to music is made very easy when using a SmartPhone. There are many apps you could use such as Spotify, YouTube, Pandora, as well as an Apple Music Library that comes with all Apple brand SmartPhones. You might be thinking “Well can’t I just take medication for my anxiety and stress”? You could, but medication is very pricy and can cause many annoying side effects. Researchers at Stanford University have said that "listening to music seems to be able to change brain functioning to the same extent as medication." They noted that music is something that almost anybody can access and makes it an easy stress reduction tool. Video games, although seen as very distracting and disruptive can be very beneficial to the brain and the body. “There is interdisciplinary evidence suggesting that key factors in game design, including choice, reward, and goals, lead to increased motivation and engagement”. “Motion controllers can be used to practice rehabilitation-relevant movements, and well-designed game mechanics can augment patient engagement and motivation in rehabilitation”. Video games are very innovative when it comes to physical therapy.Next time you feel like you just can’t handle all the things life is throwing at you, instead of banging your head against a wall, try plugging in some headphones and turn on some relaxing jams to calm your mind. Or if music isn’t your forte, try plugging in the Wii and go white water rafting down the Blue Ridge parkway.

Another way SmartPhones can be beneficial to your health is a commonly used device known as the Dexcom G5 Mobile CGM System. This device, used by patients with diabetes, which is a very common disease in the US, attaches to an insulin pump site and will alert a patient via SmartPhone if the patient’s glucose level is too high or too low. This device, created as a mash up with a SmartPhone can save lives. The Dexcom G5 provides continuous glucose readings and can also send alerts to family members. One night my mother forgot to insert more insulin in her pump to last her the night. She went to bed around eight and went into diabetic shock by midnight. When a patient goes into diabetic shock it means they are either in need of glucose or they have to high a level of glucose. When experiencing diabetic shock, the individual is blind, sweats vigorously, cannot breathe, and has the potential to pass out and go into a diabetic coma. This incident is exactly what was filmed in the movie “Steel Magnolias”. If my mother had a device like Dexcom, my family would have been alerted and we could have prevented my mother from experiencing the trauma. Of course Dexcom is not the only medical device that we could use to save lives. Apps available through SmartPhones assist health emergencies in foreign countries, such as Nigeria. Health workers in rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa use cell phones to contact medical specialists, who can help address critical health issues. That helps field workers determine what's treatable in the field, and identify patients who may need to be taken to a hospital(Higgins). Another key use of mobile phones is the SMS for Life program. It uses text messages to help deliver malaria medicines in remote communities. Using simple text messages, the program helps get malaria medicines to the people who need them, and checks on stock levels to avoid running out. Another innovative use of text messages is in HIV prevention, helping young people access information about the disease.

Another amazing benefit we can get from SmartPhones is the connection between nations that is made available to us through apps such as: Facebook, Twitter, Vine, YouTube, and Snapchat. Living in a modern world country, many people do not know how life is half way around the globe. Which is why international connection is so important. According to the World Bank, three quarters of people on Earth have access to a mobile phone. There are now at least 6 billion mobile phone subscriptions active, up from 1 billion in the year 2000. 5 billion of those are in developing countries. So a key way cell phones change the world is what they were designed for: communication. Being able to experience foreign countries face to face has influenced agricultural diversity and cultural diversity. We can learn more about religion and help those in need. We can share the different gifts we have with people abroad. Learning more about each other can help establish a new network of allied unions. SmartPhones can enable all of us to be adventurers. An entire world in the palm of your hand.

Although SmartPhones have many benefits, there comes a time when SmartPhones can actually be doing more harm than they are good. Very commonly, adolescents tend to spend more time on their SmartPhone than they do on their homework or spending time with family. SmartPhones actually distract people from their lives and when most people “call it a night” they spend about half an hour on their SmartPhones, shining the bright light from the screen on their face. This light can actually hurt your eye sight and make it harder for your brain to realize its time to go to sleep. News feeds and emails can also provide themselves as sleep-resistant notifications.SmartPhones are extremely dangerous behind the wheel of a vehicle. Some of the most gruesome car accidents have been caused by a driver checking a cellular device instead of watching the road. SmartPhones can be very dangerous if not used correctly and at the appropriate time.

SmartPhones are by far the most captivating technological innovation of our time. They inspire us, teach us, amuse us, and save us. They can also distract us, corrupt us, and destroy us. Which is why it is so important that we all teach ourselves when it is appropriate to be on a SmartPhone and when it is not. If we as a society educated and encouraged each other to make smart decisions and to use SmartPhones efficiently and appropriately then SmartPhones could get the credit they deserve. As a result of people making poor choices, SmartPhones have been given a bad light. If we use them in the right way, they can be very beneficial. SmartPhones don’t hurt people, people hurt people.


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