I remember life before smartphones. I remember boredom. It sucked. I would never go back to the agonizing pain of sitting in the DMV for three ours or standing in line at a grocery store just for some "missed moment" where I study the shitty tabloids in line or DoT pamphlets.
Romanticising the past is not new. Whether it's television, hot showers, or smartphones, there will always be cynics who wish a simpler life on the rest of us.
It seems many of the folks are using smartphones exactly in the way you describe- as an ill defined and uncertain but good enough means to plug some passing hole in your day. Is that good? I don't know. Are you losing out on using that time to prioritize what matters to you? Probably. The most damning thing about this is that you are constantly reaching for something with no fixed outcome planned in advance and allow that to temporarily occupy your mental space (if I wanted to exaggerate I'd say "hijack your mind"). This does not look like a good thing to me.
I access them on my phone now.
I have seen people - who by simple analysis of the counterfactual would be ok without the internet - have their lives ruined.
As for the young, it is a massive change and we cannot be sure about the harm it may have on them as a cohort as they get older. There was a study that showed phones cost the equivalent of (I think it was) a missed week of school per year in educational attainment.
But I think more than that. Like a lot of dependents/addicts people will
, when being candid admit that they would prefer a life without these devices (I like to think I am not merely projecting here).
Romanticising may not be new, but the rate of progress on many serious issues has halted in the west. Despite, new drugs, new technology, higher funding ... etc.
- Depression and suicide are increasing problems
- Educational attainment has stalled
- Productivity growth has ground to a halt