Author Name: Forrest Yau
Age: 17
School: West Spring Secondary School

Smartphones are dividing up families. What are your views?

In today’s digital age, there is a proliferation in the numbers of people owning a smartphone. Movies, games and social media are some of the common reasons to why people are owning smartphones these days. According to a research conducted by technology experts like scientists from Yale University, they predicted that the number of people who own a smartphone will increase by another 45% in the next decade. Hence, it is clear indeed that there are many people owning a smartphone. However, to what extent does this have an impact on families? Does it bring more good or harm?

While smartphones have the ability to unite, it has greater ability to divide. How is it possible? With smartphones and innovative apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram, they bring about instant communication. Just with a few clicks on the keyboards and instantaneously, a ‘Live’ chat can be established   no matter which part of the universe they are in. Thus, with such technologies, smartphones do unite families, especially those who are far away from home. Ironically, to those who are at home, smartphone causes division among them. How can this be possible?

These days, families across the globe are bound to own a smartphone. This also applies to children under the age of 13 and 5 too. Shocking but it is true! Because of the vast majority of family members are glued on to their smartphones, there is absolutely no room for face-to-face communication at all. For example, a family comprising of two young children under the age of 10, a mother and a dad dining at a restaurant. It is heartwarming to get together as a family to have a dinner. However, silence fills the air throughout the entire dinner.


This silence is created due to the fact that their there is an invisible barrier between each family member as they are engrossed looking down on their smartphones, ignoring the existence of anyone around them. Even both the children are busy tapping away on their screens. There is definitely no room for any human interaction at all. How can a family stay together harmoniously if this is being practiced during every single mealtime? Even the most basic fundamental of human interaction like making eye contact is hence neglected. Therefore, smartphones create invisible barriers that forcefully divides people from face-to-face communication.

In addition, with the increasing use of smartphones among families these days, there is hardly any time for quality family gatherings. Young adolescents locking themselves up in their rooms all day using their smartphones and parents busy having conversations with their colleagues over the phone are some of the few examples of families not making use of valuable time for family gatherings. Gatherings such as having a picnic out at the beach can allow families to spend some quality time together. On the contrary, they would rather spend their weekends and holidays all to themselves with their aluminium devices in hand than having social interactions among one another. This is a very worrying issue indeed. Henceforth, majority of families are not spending quality time getting together as one family and smartphones create division in families.

In encapsulation, it is true indeed that smartphones does bring about division in many families these days. But with that being said, there are a few ways that families can abide to to improve family cohesion. Ways such as implementing time limits on children with regards to their smartphones usage, parents minimising the use of their smartphones and also try to plan more family gatherings on the weekends and smartphones should prohibited during such a gathering. Smartphones are non-living things and we should never be enslaved by them. Only us, humans, get to control them and not the other way around. Staying together as a family and forging good family ties are the things we should cherish while we still can.