By 2016, 77 percent of U.S. adults owned a smartphone. Although they’re just small rectangular objects in our pockets, the phones are driving significant shifts in how we interact with the world.
Headlines tell us that “smartphones have destroyed a generation,” and “social media is ripping apart society.” But what does the research say? Indeed, young people who use electronic devices more tend to experience greater depression and worse moods. And smartphones seem to be particularly problematic for relationships, leading to social interactions that are lower-quality and less empathic. But there are a wide range of ways to use a smartphone — from taking photos with your friends to envious Facebook stalking — and only some are detrimental.