As smartphones have evolved into a “must have” necessity for most women, they enable more and more interactions with all the different people we have in our lives. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? For most women, it is both.
Almost half of the women surveyed in a recent SheByShe smartphone survey say that smartphones help them have better relationships with friends. On the other hand, not so many think that smartphones have a positive impact on family relationships. Only 31 percent say it helps improve family relationships—mostly to stay connected and keep in touch with family living far away.
Smartphones Hindering Many Family Relationships
Many women admit that smartphones are addictive and interfere with their immediate family interactions. Twenty-two percent believe smartphones are hindering their family relationships. “Playing games on the phone decreases my family interactions,” says one SheByShe respondent.
“My family complains about me using the phone,” said another.
“[I spend] too much time on FB and Instagram when I should be talking with my kids,” confesses a third.
Many women also complain about their spouse or children’s smartphone use. “Sometimes everybody is on their cells instead of having a conversation,” explains one respondent.
“It irritates me when my family is on their phone when they are with me,” says another.
“My son and I are both sitting in the couch right now 'watching' a movie. Even though we have seen it before, we still aren't even paying attention to each other. I'm taking this survey, and he is playing a game. Enough said,” Sums up another respondent.
Smartphones Keep Many Friendships Going
Still, one reason many women have a hard time putting down the phone is the connection it provides to friends and others. One woman who believes her smartphone helps her have better friendships says, “We group chat all day long. Even though we don't get to see each other often, we stay connected through texting and Snapchat.”
For yet another, her smartphone is helping her develop more friendships, “Through interactions on Facebook and group texts, I have been able to get to know my co-workers, who I consider friends, much better.”
Many of the women in this study appreciate how their smartphone keeps them in touch with distant friends—both those who live far away, and those not seen very often. “I'm more connected with distant friends on social media,” says a respondent.
“Most of my friends live across the country. It helps keep us connected,” explains another.
Not All Women See the Benefits
Six percent of the women in this study think smartphones actually hurt their relationships with friends. These women think smartphones make their friendships shallower and less personal. One respondent explained, “My friends and I are always distracted by our phones when we hang out. It has made relationships less personable.”
“I fail to communicate when in person with friends as I should. Rather, I have my cell in my face every few minutes thinking I may miss something,” responded another.
In fact, 24 percent of the study’s participants report they feel like they miss out on some of life’s most important moments because they are using their smartphones. “Sometimes friends say I need to put my phone down when I’m with them,” says one woman.
“We're in our own cyber-world instead of connecting fully with the person we're with,” laments another.
How do you feel about your smartphone and your relationships? Has it helped or hurt? Enhanced or detracted? Let us know in the comments below.