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Study shows cell phone use could lead to selfish behavior


A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Maryland found that cell phone usage has caused people to become more selfish rather than socially minded.

Two professors and a graduate student organized several experiments on test groups of cell phone users, all of whom were college students in their early 20s. The researchers found that after using their cell phone, subjects were less likely to volunteer for community service when asked compared to the control group who had not recently used their phone. In addition, the first group was less interested in solving world problems after using the phone, even though they were aware that their answers to the questions asked by study leaders would cause money to be donated to charity.

“We would expect a similar pattern of effects with people from other age groups,” said professor Rosellina Ferraro, one of the researchers. “Given the increasing pervasiveness of cellphones, it does have the potential to have broad social implications.”

The limited focus on others continued to hold true when the researchers asked the participants to draw a picture of their cell phone and write down why they use them.

“The cellphone directly evokes feelings of connectivity to others, thereby fulfilling the basic human need to belong,” the authors conclude.

The results of the study will be featured in the paper The Effect of Mobile Phone Use on Prosocial Behavior. Prosocial behaviors are defined as actions intended to benefit society or another individual.

Even though the study focused on people in their 20s, this could greatly affect the younger generation as they continue to grow up in a tech-savvy world. Some parents may try to avoid selfishness in their children by educating them on proper phone and interpersonal etiquette, but this is not their only concern, as there are more serious situations arising because of cell phone use among young people. Some parents consider purchasing cell phone tracking software for their kids’ phones and computers to ensure they are behaving appropriately and not giving away personal information.

According to the Arizona Daily Sun, legislation has been approved to allow parents to monitor children’s texts through their cell phone providers if they have a court order to do so. However, as long as the parent owns the phone, there is software available to allow him or her to keep tabs on a child’s technology.