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By Yasuka Tateishi

More and more people have come to use smart phones in recent years, but smart phones do not always benefit us.

A poster that gives notice of a danger of Aruki Smaho in a station. Photo by author.

A poster that gives notice of a danger of Aruki Smaho in a station. Photo by author.

Today, we often see people using smart phones in a train, in a classroom, and everywhere in Japan. Students are anything but an exception. Smart phones have become a part of our everyday lives. We can send e-mails or make calls as we could do with ordinary cell phones (in Japan, they are called Galapagos phones; for the way they have been developed without other countries’ influence is similar to the evolution of plants and animals in Galapagos). In addition, we can browse the Internet and chat with groups of people. If we forget our smart phones at home, we would be upset for being out of touch with the world.

However, smart phones are dangerous if we use them too much. The term “Aruki Smaho”, which means the act of using smart phone when walking, has become a popular word in Japan. If you concentrate on looking at the screen when you are walking, you may bump into people on the street. This Aruki Smaho becomes very dangerous if you do it on a platform of a train station. Accidents have been reported of people falling into train tracks because of Aruki Smaho.

People use a smartphone everywhere these days. Photo by author.

People use a smartphone everywhere these days. Photo by author.

Smart phones are not only dangerous for our action but also for our brains. In December 2013, Professor Ryuta Kawashima, who does research about the mechanism of the brain in Tohoku University, announced that people who use smart phones for long hours received worse scores than those who use it less. He and his group categorized junior high school students three categories: studying at home for less than 30 minutes a day, 30 minutes to 2 hours, and more than 2 hours. They assessed the academic ability in each group and saw correlations with how long students use smart phones. Among students who studies more than 2 hours, the average score of those who use smart phones for less than 1 hour was 75 out of 100, while that of those who use smart phones more than 4 hours was 57.7. Also, among students who studies less than 30 minutes, the scores of those who use more than 4 hours was 47.8 and 15.3 points less than those who use less than 1 hour. As a whole, students who used smart phones less had better score than those who used it more. It is perhaps because smart phones have bad influence on brain, or simply because the longer you use smart phones, the less time you have to study. Please be careful with using smart phones too much. Smart phones do not make us smart; they might make us less smart!

Smart phones have two sides; beneficial and harmful. More and more people will have used them in the future, but please be careful to use them properly.

Yasuka is a first-year student at the University of Tokyo. 

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