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7 Reasons Smartphones Make You Lazy

7 Reasons Smartphones Make You Lazy

A lot of people have suggested that we rely too much on our smartphones to do our thinking for us. I can’t really make an argument against them, can you?

Considering how many people rely on their phones, instead of their brains… I’m not surprised. People who are less analytic (but have a strong intuition) use their smartphones to “think” for them, reports this study.

Just how smartphones are making us mental couch potatoes… is something I’d like to find out. Let’s find out together!

1. GPS Degrades Memory

Neuroscientist Veronique Bohbot did a study with her colleagues. Her team found that global positioning systems (GPS) reduces the hippocampus. Remember what the hippocampus is?

It’s the part of your brain that… well… remembers stuff.

Which makes sense, right? If you always have a machine telling you where to go, you’ll rarely get the chance to develop a “feel” for where you’re going. Mesmerizing signs and stop lights, what turns you took and where. Which landmarks to watch out for. That type of useful stuff that is crucial for remembering directions.

2. Ruin Our Multitasking

According to Today, a Stanford researcher Clifford Nass did a study; what he found was shocking:

Heavy multitaskers (people who watch TV, surf the web, and find the cure for cancer while gabbing away on their phones all at once) were less able than the average person to focus on a task.

Author Nicholas Carr went on to say this in his book, “The Glass Cage: Automation And Us.” He dives deep into our relationship with factory robots doing the work of humans, self-driving cars, computer glasses, and more.

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3. What To Do Next?

Let’s say, for example, that you accidentally drop your smartphone into the toilet. Whoops! Quick, what’s your first reaction?

…Take it out of course. But then what? Try to use it again?

Wrong! This is pure laziness. Chances are unless this has happened before, you never had the curiosity to look it up.

A “just in case” scenario. No fear – the smart thing to do first, to save your smartphone from a watery grave, would be to turn it off.

What you should do next is a tricky process, but it is doable.

4. They Do Things For Us

We’ve invented apps… That do this for us. An app like TaskRabbit can connect anyone with money to people who will clean your house, shop for you… even assemble new furniture.

A local help app Zaarly helps you find someone to bake a cake for you.

An app called FastCustomer will actually connect you with people… who will wait on customer service’s hold for you. Then get back in touch with you when waiting times are done.

I mean, really? Really? People in the world actually get paid to wait on hold? I can understand these services for executives or people who are busy developing apps that (gasp!) help the world. But, personally, for the life of me… I can’t understand how people can be so lazy.

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Such is the craze of the digital age.

5. Too Much Search Engine-ing

Let me ask you a question (and you can’t Google the answer! Respect the honor system). A bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total. The bat costs $1.00 more than the ball. So how much does the bat cost?

As CTVnews reports, the answer is 5 cents. At least, that’s what analytical thinkers would think.

The researchers who held this study then asked those same people about whether or not they owned a smartphone. The researchers then looked at the number of people who did own one and found something interesting.

People who use smartphones extensively scored lower on several tests.

6. Reduce Our Instinct

It’s our natural instinct to look up something – from regular questions and directions; even those we know already, buried somewhere deeply in our minds.

And, sadly, smartphones are ruining our instincts, as Real Simple points out.

They even acknowledge our addiction (or slavery?) to the devices and provide helpful tips on curbing the “need” for checking smartphones every ten minutes. There’s no messages, no emails, nothing – but still, you keep checking your smartphones.

Maybe it’s time for you to sell your smartphone and just be without it for some time. Or, hand-it-over to someone, rent it out (if someone is willing to take it) but just don’t throw it out with anger. It’s your buddy that comes handy when needed but it can become an addiction if used when unneeded.

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7. Children Are Prey

Smartphones aren’t all about you, are they? Sadly, children are prey, too. As it’s quite a common site (during an average day) to see at least one or two toddlers and preteens sporting smartphones. What’s the harm, right? It can’t be all that bad, can it? I mean, they’re going to get into the things sooner or later, aren’t they? Why not start them while they’re young! So they can become proficient “masters” when they’re teenagers and young adults.

Right? Right?

Wrong!

Here’s why:

96% of small children have used mobile devices and in two years (from ’11 to ’13) the number of children using smart devices leaped from 50% to more than 75%.

A 25% increase in two years. What’s worse than that? Real Simple broke the news that children (between 8 and 10 years old) spent more than seven hours on social media. (When they weren’t in school, that is.)

Seven. Hours. A. Day. On social media.

The study goes on to say that this “devotion” to social media stunts a lot of children’s emotional growth. How? Because they limit our face-to-face interactions. (Obviously, this is a no-brainer.)

“But what’s so bad about that,” some might say. “I sat in front of a screen all the time and I turned out just fine.”

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While, yes, it’s true most 20-somethings (myself included) spend most of our days and adolescence in front of screens… We also had friends, and knew how to talk to each other, and spent most nights not just curled up in front of our devices… but we were out in the world – being stupid, causing mayhem, disrupting sleeping neighbors, and teasing dogs. We basked in (though we didn’t know it at the time) the good ol’ days.

Children today, by way of screens, are being robbed of that experience. They’re spoiled, just like teens. My own nephew LOVES video games. If he doesn’t have a video game in his hand, he gets restless and starts acting like a caffeine-sensitive person gulping two cups of black coffee in a row.

He’s a bad case.

Was I like that? Sure! But not to that extent – and I definitely had other things to do. But that was then. I don’t want to become one of those “Why, back in my day…” old geezers, but it’s true! We didn’t have a lot of the stuff they do now.

And it’s slowly depriving children of… well… childhood.

So the biggest way smartphones make us mentally lazy, as parents and on-lookers and uncles and aunts, is by how we handle children: sitting them in front of a screen, and letting technology raise them.

Conclusion

For as much good that smartphones provide in the world… which in no way can be overestimated… there is a serious drawback that we, as thinkers of society, need to think twice about.

We don’t want to lose our superpower use of cognitive functions, do we? Otherwise… The next generation of kids won’t stand an intellectual chance, to help the human race evolve as a species. Our posterity as a collective humanity might just be at risk.

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Published on September 20, 2018

11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

In today’s fast-paced and never-ending busy world, we are overwhelmed by tasks that need to be completed by tight deadlines. With so much technology it is difficult to find the right tools to help boost our efficiency. And, many tools get obsolete so its essential to stay up-to-date to know when you will have to make adjustments to these tools. Independently of where you work, there’s a good chance that you have to be working on a PC or a laptop.

Do you are feel like you do not have enough time, or cannot accomplish much as of late? It is recommended to take a step back and look at the big picture. Also, you want to explore new and innovative ways to improve productivity.

In this article, I outline 11 features and apps within the Chrome browser that can help you do just that.

Minimizing Tabs

Let’s face it we all have more than a dozen tabs opened on our computers. One neat trick to still keep most of them open is to turn them into pinned tabs. On Google Chrome you can right-click the tab and select “Pin Tab” option. This turns the tab into an icon enabling you to continue multitasking.

Pinning a tab anchors the tabs on the left of your toolbar; a great benefit of the “Pin Tab” feature is that you can’t close these tabs accidentally since the “X” disappears after pinning them.

Incognito Mode

Google Chrome is a very easy-to-use and intuitive. But, Google does collect our browsing data; so to remedy this, you can use Incognito Mode. This feature does not keep your browsing or download history. You can enable or access it in three different ways:

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  1. Press Ctrl/Command+shift+N
  2. Select File Menu and choose New Incognito Window
  3. Download extension New Incognito Window

This feature is very handy if you’d rather not have your browsing history stored and utilized for future advertisement or suggested pages.

Save Webpages as PDF Files

Have you ever browsed interesting or important information and then forgot to bookmark or save it in “favorites”, making it impossible to find again? Chances are you have done this on a number of occasions.

Thankfully, there is an easy solution. You can save webpages as PDF files. On your keyboard, press control/command+p and you will be able to save webpages as PDFs.

Open Recently-closed Tabs

Ever had dozens of tabs opened and all of a sudden your browser shuts down? It has probably happened to all of us. You can easily recover all of your tabs using two approaches. Don’t panic if this happens because there is a workaround and solution for it.

One is by pressing Ctrl/CMD+Shift+T.

The other approach is to click on the three vertical dots on your browser and hover over “History”.

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Solve Mathematical Problems

Google’s Chrome browser doesn’t just search for relevant and updated information. It is also capable of performing some mathematical problems. Within the omnibox (Chrome’s address or URL bar), you can perform mathematical exercises.

For example, if you are struggling with percentages you can search 20 percent of x amount and it will instantly provide a result. Pretty handy, right?!

Play Media Files

Are you frequently met with difficulties when playing or watch a video files? Well, once again Chrome comes to the rescue. You can can listen or play videos from all sorts of movie or music files (mp3, mp4, .mov, .mkv, .ogv, .webm, .wav, etc.) by simply dragging the file into the search bar.

In addition, you can view images, PDF files and Microsoft Office files, too.

Navigate Swiftly Between Tabs

With all of those tabs opened comes great navigation responsibilities. Rather than clicking through every tab, you can use shortcut keys like Ctrl+Tab to navigate all of the different tabs. Also, you are able to navigate to the first tab by pressing Ctrl-1, Ctrl-2, and so on. If you want to switch to the very last tab, press Ctrl-9.

Stay Focus(e)d

Computers nowadays have awesome capabilities.

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Sometimes we like to get work done, but let’s face it, we’re all human. We sometimes procrastinate by visiting a website we really like, or maybe take a break with watching a flick on Netflix, a video on YouTube or browsing Facebook.

With Chrome’s StayFocusd extension, you can truly stay focused and get more done in less time.

This extension naturally helps you stay more productive by limiting the amount of time you spend on websites. You can set the time and it will automatically block those sites after a certain period.

Grammarly for Editing

Grammarly is a must have, and it’s really a complete powerhouse. Grammarly helps you check your grammar and spelling for everything you write online.

You can use it professionally or as a student, which will make the editing process much easier and more efficient. Furthermore, it can automatically check for typos when you send an email, type a Tweet, or post a Facebook comment. It’s like having your own personal copyeditor!

Loom

There are times that words in an email or written text in a chat app will just not convey the right meaning.

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There is a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, the same is true of videos.

With Loom, you can capture, narrate and immediately share video recordings of your screen, which will help coworkers understand issues you are facing, or to easily convey an explanation on screen. Plus, with video you will be able to easily walk people through a process, and you can use it to create simple how-to videos.

Chrome Calendar Extension

No matter what your level of responsibility is at your job, Google Calendar is another essential resource to have at your fingertips.

Specifically, you can have this extension added as an icon in the toolbar of your browser, which I highly recommend. Once you add the extension to your browser, you can check for upcoming events with a single click without leaving your current page.

Final Thoughts

Google Chrome has definitely evolved from its inception. As you can see you have a very powerful tool that comes as a free installation and is loaded with dozens of capabilities. The above listed Chrome apps can resolve some of the most common obstacles to your time management and productivity.

Featured photo credit: Andrew Neel via unsplash.com

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