Technology really does move quickly. Not so long ago just having an internet connection and a computer at home was considered a luxury. These days, it’s estimated that up to ninety five percent of Americans own a smartphone. We walk around with what is essentially a powerful little computer in our pocket, and these devices (along with the apps that make them so fantastic) can really improve our lives for the better. Technology is often criticised for taking away from our lives rather than adding to it, with the older generation claiming that it was a better and simpler time. However for many of us, it’s just not the case and the internet, smartphones and apps have given us the ability to do so much and improve our lives for the better. Here are a few examples of how.
In times gone by, to learn about a topic you’d have had to go to a library and taken out a book, and scour through tonnes of information to find what you wanted. These days, any burning curiosity or any question imaginable can be typed into your phone and an answer presented to you in seconds. If you want to research a topic, learn something new and generally educate yourself then it’s so easy to do. We have access to articles, podcasts, videos and all other types of media on any subject we want, meaning learning even into adulthood is a lot of fun. There’s no denying how incredible it is having access to this kind of information from a little device that fits in our pocket.
Tracking our health using our phones is something we’re all increasingly comfortable with. It can be chatting to a doctor using an online doctor app, ordering our prescriptions from an online pharmacy, using apps to remind us to take medication, track calories and everything else. Fitness trackers, smart scales and other devices all sync up nicely to our phones, so it’s easy to keep an eye on everything from our changes in weight to our sleeping and exercise habits. These things can take out the guesswork, we have our information there right in front of us, and can use this to ensure we’re taking proper steps to take care of ourselves. There are more and more apps being created that can even help with specific health issues. For example, diabetics have the ability to track their blood sugar with linked devices. In the UK, the National Health Service are even releasing apps that can help people monitor their health and different conditions. Increased privacy and security mean that it’s a very safe and useful way to keep track of your illnesses.
Before the days of mobile phones, unless you’d brought a book in your bag to keep you occupied you’d be stuck twiddling your thumbs every time you were at a loose end. Waiting for the bus, sat in the doctors or dentist, waiting for a friend- sometimes in life there’s not much going on and you have to be patient. These days you can experience Final Fantasy 15, get lost in the Da Vinci code e-book, enter the world of your favourite Youtuber by clicking on their videos or messaging a friend. We can watch live tv, watch movies, listen to the radio, our own music, go shopping online and so, so much more Having something there to occupy you and stop you from getting bored when you’re hanging around waiting is more of a luxury than we probably realise.
Being organised in the modern world doesn’t mean carrying around a big paper diary, filofax or lots of paperwork. Everything can be done right from our phones, and it’s so easy to stay organised. Driving and sat nav apps can mark your parking location so there’s no more running round looking for the car in a car park. To- do list apps help us work through our tasks without trying to remember everything (and ultimately forgetting at least one important thing!) Budgeting apps keep our finances in order, and calendar and reminder apps mean there’s no missing birthdays or appointments. Most of these apps will sync up to your computer or tablet too, meaning you can update and make changes regardless of the device you’re using at the time.
There’s no proper substitute to seeing our loved ones in person, and spending time with those we care about is so important. That is the time to put your smartphone away, and enjoy the moment instead! But we lead busy lives, and keeping in contact is still important and thankfully smartphones give us plenty of opportunities to do this. Phone calls, text messages, social media, fun apps like Snapchat and much more all encourage us to interact with our loved ones. It helps to keep bonds close and allows you to stay up to date on what family and friends are doing. Even commenting on a picture they’ve posted or a shared post creates a talking point and makes interaction easier than ever. Video calls are especially good as you get to see the person’s face and speak with them almost as if you’re with them in person. This can be useful for staying in touch with relatives that live far away, and is great for older adults who are prone to loneliness.
Our phones can be used for work and business, as well personal use and entertainment. Due to their many uses they’re usually used all through the day, and are an excellent tool for making life better. Admittedly, there is a problem with smartphone addiction in some people, and they can be criticised for pushing us further apart instead of bringing us together. However used properly, they’re incredible little devices and something that no one could have predicted we’d all be carrying around with us just a couple of decades ago.
How does your smartphone improve your life? What kinds of functions on your phone could you simply not live without?