Smartphone users globally have become more dependent on devices to fulfill their basic life needs. They will be disappointed if they expect smartphones to help them provide meaning in life. Researchers at Baylor and Campbell universities have recently published a report claiming that the smartphone is not helping with any of the factors. Instead, it is doing the opposite.
By analyzing data from the Baylor Religion Survey, lead author Justin J. Nelson, assistant professor of sociology at Campbell University, and senior lecturer Christopher M. Pieper, Ph.D., of Baylor University, sought to understand the complex connection between meaning-seeking and technology.
These researchers have linked the sociological effect to the psychological impact to show social media’s integration with the mind. It leaves more detached from the outer world and become one of the prime reason for depression. Excessive dependency on smartphones leads to feelings of loneliness, depression, unhappiness, poor mental health, and suicidal outcomes. Their study, titled “Maladies of Infinite Aspiration: Smartphones, Meaning-Seeking, and Anomigenesis” was issued in Sociological Perspectives.
Furthermore, Pieper said that the researcher found that humans have instilled curiosity about finding meaning in life. They seek meaning in everything, including relationships, work, faith, and all areas of social life. So they have surveyed how much smartphones play their part in helping their users seek meaning in life.
Pieper then concluded that smartphone attachment could lead to anomigenic. A kind of frustration could cause a breakdown in social values because of the variety of solutions they presented on different social media platforms. It deteriorates mental health while at the same time offering a solution to the problem. The only goal and activity that will serve as the foundation for anomie and addiction will be to hold a fruitful life purpose.
Moreover, Nelson and Pieper noticed a certain connection between people’s feelings and emotions that is somehow attached to their smartphones. They have grown addicted and more dependent on mobile phones. For instance, anxiety worsens if the smartphone stops working for an hour or a minute. This extreme feeling is also directly proportional to the attachment.
The researchers from Wave 5 of the national Baylor Religion Survey distributed a Questionnaire related to the meaning and purpose of life. Of how much smartphones take part in resolving the issue and promise satisfaction. It turns out that they often deliver the contrary.
According to Pieper, people who use smartphones frequently are more prone to attach themselves to the device. The individual seeks solace or connection for a short burst, likely to get affected by it and exacerbate attachment. Whereas, those who are hooked to their phones excessively get detached after some time. Although the study says they do not know how this group uses social media, excessive use eliminates feelings of attachment for individuals.
Smartphones produce estranging effects on individuals and deteriorate feelings of attachment and anomie. Social mechanisms are often the cause that draws its operators towards it while not providing any satisfying results. The only question that remains an enigma to researchers is: what are the ones who use smartphones excessively doing online, and how can they break through the attachment?
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