This post was most recently updated on December 24th, 2018
Mobiles phones are a great invention, but we’re not very conscious, or cognizant, of the disadvantages, mobile phones (cell phones) have brought us over the last couple of decades. Even though, I agree, that the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages of mobile phones (or cell phones).
That’s a fact. And living without a device today is near to impossible.
Unless you belong to a remote jungle tribe (or have been living under a rock). Jokes apart, there are very few people who can survive without mobile phones these days. And I truly salute them for their resistance (not inability or unwillingness), if they are making a conscious effort.
This is how most people feel when they forget their phones at home:
And this is how they feel when their phone’s battery is about to die:
The biggest shift that mobile phones have brought about in modern lives, is the ability to interact and connect with anyone, anywhere in the world instantly. Call, text, Whatsapp, Linkedin, Facebook, SnapChat, Skype, etc. are all ways you can use to communicate your friends, family and business contacts. The more modern, smartphone versions also allow people to play games and are far more superior in processing power than full-fledged computers a few years ago.
Mobile phones today, are extremely powerful – as the saying goes, with great power, comes great responsibility. And many people are prone to an irresponsible usage leading to several cons, repercussions, and disadvantages of mobile phones.
We’ve thought through a long list of disadvantages, that mobile phones bring to our societies. And we feel this post will be a helpful read for you to understand and take precautions against the risk and negative impacts of mobile phones.
But having said the above, we are certainly not advocates of a mobile-free lifestyle (you’re probably reading this post on a mobile device too). All we suggest is for you to use mobile phones in moderation.
What Are the Disadvantages of Mobile Phones
I disadvantage is a broad term, that doesn’t do justice to the negative impact of mobile phones. Disadvantage occurs when a situation, capability, or a scenario, is not in a person’s control. When you go through the sub-topics below, do note that there are disadvantages of using mobile phones, that can be controlled with moderation and discipline, and you will also find other negative impacts that you won’t have a control over.
1. Non-Stop Interruptions Result in a Distracted Mind
The world has been sold an “always on” lifestyle through mobile phones and connected devices, and it all sounds exciting. But an always-connected lifestyle also leads to receiving continuous notifications from the tens, if not hundreds, of apps that fight for a user’s share of attention and mind.
This has led to limited attention spans, less physical conversations amongst friends and family, and a mind that is always active. A mind that is craving for that attention, and pounces of the check the mobile phone on the sound of a notification tone.
Which in turn results in a multi-tasking mode, that’s always on. People never fully end up giving attention to situations that may require their complete focus.
2. It Becomes Increasing Difficult to Disconnect from Your Phone
It has increasingly become difficult for many people to detach themselves from their phones, even for a couple of hours. It’s almost impossible for them. We find people always checking their phones for social media notifications, chat messages, emails, and a ton of other things.
3. Mobility Can be a Curse in Disguise
To make the situation worse, now employers also want their employees to check emails 24/7. Employees that are mobile. Gone are the days when people used to disconnect from work at 5 pm, go home and spend some quality time with their families.
Clients and employers expect their employees to stay connected even post-midnight, or when they are on vacation.
4. Risk of Privacy in Case of Stolen Phone
I’ve had my phone stolen quite a number of times. Every time that happened, I was more worried about my personal data, pictures, and emails, than the actual phone itself. It is a scary situation to be in. You wouldn’t want your personal details to get in wrong hands, and leave you exposed to malicious intent.
5. Using Public WiFi Can lead to Compromised Financial Details
Related to the risk of privacy, many-a-times, hackers try to hijack people’s phones through public WiFi. Most of the times they hackers are after peoples personal and financial details, such as social media passwords, date of birth, social security number, bank and credit cards.
That’s why it’s better to not save sensitive information on your device, or be very cognizant of which networks you are connecting you, and whether they are secure or not. I tried connecting myself to a Subway Wifi, and the next thing you know, someone tried to transfer $2,000 from my credit card. I’m glad the bank intervened and blocked the transfer.
6. Distracted Drivers and Pedestrians Use Mobile Phones and Cause Accidents
The usage of mobile phones has been one of the main reasons for roadside accidents in the last several years. Many careless drivers continue to text or call while driving and that leads to distracted driving. Distracted driving is dangerous, and has been one of the leading disadvantages of mobile phones.
This is not funny, but I witnessed a taxi driver, who kept his phone in front of the speed-o-meter to Skype with his family. Talk about irresponsible behavior.
Most pedestrians are also at fault. They continue watching on the street, too involved with their phones, and without paying any attention to their surroundings. This too has led to many accidents. Avoid picking up calls, don’t watch videos, or play games on your phone, while driving or walking on the street. It is not only unsafe for you, but you are putting life of other people in jeopardy.
7. Usage of Mobile Phones Can Offend People in Meetings
Not only do mobile phones can disrupt, or create distractions in meetings, they can also offend your boss(es), co-workers, or clients. If you are occupied on your phone during meetings, when everyone else expects you to pay attention and focus, your behavior will come across as disrespectful.
It will also lead to a tarnished reputation. And you might also miss some important requests and asks from your team members, and that might cost you your job. Ensure that you put your phone on silent before entering meeting rooms, and also, don’t respond to emails, or chat messages, or take calls, unless absolutely necessary.
8. Social Interaction is Reducing to Digital and Social Mediums Only
How many times have you noticed that people sit with each other, but don’t interact? This is one of the biggest disadvantages of mobile phones that the modern world is affected by. People prefer being on their smartphones, chatting with people not present, rather than having conversations with people in the same room.
How sad is that?
By no means am I trying to blame technology for this behavior. The use of technology with responsibility is important. Will our future generations forget to spark and enjoy face to face conversations? What about getting trained on how to interact with different people in varying social situations? All of this will be lost, if we don’t start controlling our excess usage of mobile phones, because it will get difficult for people to connect with each other in the real and physical world.
Another example is a family, who are on different devices and don’t focus on strengthening their bond. They are together, yet not. Such situations can lead to a crumbled relationships.
I hope we don’t end up dehumanizing our future generations.
This is a great advertisement by a telecom (ironic… eh?), that is trying to give us a strong message:
9. A Good and Durable Phone Might Set You Back Thousands of Dollars
If you want to buy a good device, that will last you long and can pretty much do everything – it will cost you thousands of dollars. Not only in the cost of the phone that you will pay to the manufacturer, but also the money you will pay for data, minutes, and service charges to your telecom company.
If you have a good phone, just make sure to keep it safe from prying eyes who might want to steal or snatch your phone away. I’ve lost my phone a number of times, and it is a painful experience.
And then, there are enthusiasts who can’t wait to get their hands on the next new device, or that upgrade they waited for 1 whole year. It is an expensive hobby, if you are into upgrading to new phones without any valid reason.
10. A Ringing Cell Phone Can Distract People in Different Social Settings
How annoyed do you get when someone forgets to switch their phone to silent mode in a movie theatre? Or maybe your phone started ringing when your CEO was presenting an important business plan? What about when your family (or spouse) is sleeping, and your friend calls you in the middle of the night?
You get the point.
The truth is, people, forget. And even though this is not a major disadvantage of using cell phones, it definitely can gain unwanted attention due to forgetfulness.
11. Health Hazards Can be One of the Biggest Disadvantages of Mobile Phones
Not fully proven, or negated, there are theories and assumptions that suggest that there are health risks involved in using mobile phones. If it turns out to be true, then health hazards will be one of the biggest disadvantages of mobile phones.
Mobile phones have been linked to a number of different health risks, due to the amount of radiation the user can get exposed to:
12. Cell Tower Network and Microwave Radiation
If you’ve ever used a microwave before, you know how it can heat food up in seconds. The radio frequency (RF) that mobile phones use to communicate through the cell tower network spread across the world, falls within the microwaves spectrum.
Even though safety standards control the amount of radiation exposure from cell towers and devices, by reducing the thermal (or the heating effect), – using a mobile phone can still cause the temperature in your head to rise by one degree. But is does removing the heating effect from microwaves really make them safe?
Probably not in my opinion, and there are a number of researches to support that. But the issue still remains debatable.
A good indication of this could be that the radiation from phones can cause operational problems with hospital equipment and airplanes.
13. Dependency on Mobile Phones
We’ve become dependent on our devices. This is a big disadvantage of mobile phones in my opinions. Earlier in the day, people used to remember hundreds of phone numbers, addresses, and other information. But I can’t even remember my own, or my spouse’s number.
Because I rely too much on my mobile phone.
Similarly, using a mobile calculator for basic calculations? Or what about alarm clocks, appointment schedulers, birthday reminders? The list can go on.
14. Less Family Visits Because Everyone is a Call Away
Families used to be bigger because extended family was also considered close enough. There were more emotional bonds between people. That was because people used to visit each other more frequently if they lived in close proximity.
But since everyone is a phone call away, we prefer to just dial the number and talk to whoever we want.
It’s a great invention, and not really a disadvantage if you think about it. But what are we losing to gain this advantage of mobile phones?
15. More Drawbacks of Mobile Phones: Envy, Isolation, and Depression
Getting addicted to one’s mobile phone can make them feel lonely. But weren’t they supposed to connect people to other people? Well, technology dependence, as discussed above, can lead to addiction. Which in turn, can leave people untrained in social skills, or any friends at all.
Plus, social media websites like Facebook, can generate negative feelings of envy and depression. This is primarily due to the constant prying over other people’s blessings.
16. Too Much Screen Time Can lead to Weak Eyesight
Watching a mobile screen for hours, all day, everyday, can lead to a weak eye-sight. If you are one such person, try to give your eyes a break and they will thank you. Try to look at least 20 meters away for a few minutes after every 10 or 15 minutes. Also, try exercising your eyes.
Ideally, cut-down your mobile usage.
17. The Blue Light from Mobile Phones Can Cause Sleeplessness or Insomnia
It’s a known fact, and almost everyone advises against using the phone close to bedtime (or in your bed right before sleeping). The blue light from the screen can cause sleeplessness, and in some cases a chronic condition of sleeplessness because it destroys your routine.
18. Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) Due to Overuse of Mobile Phones
Constant overuse of cell phones can cause repetitive strain injury (RSI) to the users’ hands. RSI is not something that can go away on its own, unless the user is will to change their habits.
I also know someone who’s damaged their thumb due to overuse of a mobile phone.
19. Mobile Devices Are Being Monitored by Governments and Companies
We’ve talked about the risk of data privacy in case of a stolen or hacked phone, earlier in this post. However, another invasive concern that most people have with the usage of cell phones is that government agencies monitor calls and all data that goes through your phone. These might be your very very personal texts, or calls that you don’t want anyone to know about. And to the best of my knowledge, the data is stored by telecom companies for a certain period of time due to legal regulations.
Your darkest secrets, might not be quite dark.
Apart from governments, the permissions that you grant to your apps like the Facebook Messenger, that Candy Crush Game that you love so much, and that music streaming app you are addicted to, all gather and sell your personal data to advertising companies and agencies, to be able to target you with different offers on your mobile phones. They can track you by your mobile’s device ID, which is your digital identity online.
Next time if you notice you have been served an advertisement about something, that you just mentioned to someone. It might be a sneaky app listening to your conversation silently.
20. Time Wasting is One if the Biggest Disadvantages of Mobile Phones
Not everyone will agree to this, but I feel that the single biggest drawback of using mobile phones is that people waste their precious time on this device. No doubt that time wasting is an outcome of addiction, and probably other disadvantages mentioned above. But people should develop enough self-control, to not waste their time in using a mobile phone aimlessly.
Don’t get hooked on to that game so much that you forget your studies. Avoid excess social media usage and give time to your kids and family.
Disadvantages of Mobile Phones Don’t Outweigh its Advantages
The purpose of this post was not to build a negative perception against one of the most revolutionary inventions of our times – the mobile phone. In fact, we wanted to shed light on the disadvantages of mobile phones due to the overuse – and that comes at a pretty hefty price – life, career, health, and relationships.
Even though there are many disadvantages to mobile phones, but they are not to be blamed. Because the responsibility lies with us. Apart from a few negative impacts, every other disadvantage is linked with excessive and irresponsible behavior.
Everything in moderation is good. And the same applies to using mobile phones too.
Personally, I have cut down on my mobile phone usage considerably. I try to avoid picking up the phone unless it is absolutely necessary. I’ve deleted social apps, games and any other distractions that compelled me to check my phone. That has helped a lot.