Our View: Phone Tracking and Social Media

The+journalism+class+had+a+discussion+about+the+effects+of+phone+tracking+and+social+media.+

Lauren Wensel

The journalism class had a discussion about the effects of phone tracking and social media.

Our class recently had a discussion about invasion of privacy with our phones and social media being a giant trigger. From that conversation, we as a staff believe that it is okay for apps and companies to track people or personalize advertisements. They are going to do what they need to do to benefit their companies, as long as it is legal.

Companies that own everyday apps know where people’s phones are located, whether it’s for providing them with local news or coupons they may use. They can get away with being creeps by including information in the terms and services that nearly no one reads. We think that as long as they are not hiding the information from the public, it is okay. If someone decides not to read the terms and services, they are choosing to ignore the companies warnings to them.

The bigger issue in our eyes is password protection. Free apps sometimes illegally sell people’s private information, and that is how those apps make their money. Even while off an app, if it is still open it can trace people’s keystrokes and guess their passwords. This is far more alarming to us than knowing our phone can be tracked by each ping, because this has been known for years now.

While discussing the reasoning behind why phone companies could locate a person at any moment, we recognized our dependency on our phones. According to ZDNet, the average American spends 5.4 hours per day on their phone.  Issues that companies create for people through their phones do not compare to the problems they create for themselves through their devices. New studies from NeuroRegulation find that over-attachment to your phone can cause serious social problems – boosting feelings of loneliness and isolation – while worsening anxiety.

Depression has also increased with cell phone use, especially for teens. Social media takes most of the blame for these statistics. Constant comparisons can be very detrimental to people’s mental health. Although phones are useful tools that help people manage their everyday lives, they have countless negative effects. 

Today’s technology obviously creates many problems worldwide, from being scammed for money to mental health illnesses and a general weakening of social skills for young generations. The big question is how far will we let it go before we put a stop to the control our phones are having over us?

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