Are Mobile Devices Healthy?

It’s easy to see that mobile technology has vastly changed the way we all connect over the last few decades. Today, we can connect with nearly anyone across the globe in just a few moments, and we have easy access to more information than we could read in a whole lifetime. As our world becomes more and more interconnected through mobile devices, many people have questioned the effects of this interconnectedness on our mental and physical health as well as the health of our relationships. On one side, people praise mobile technology for making everyday tasks much simpler and faster, and making it easier to stay connected to loved ones. On the other side, many people wonder if the pervasiveness of mobile tech is making us more anxious and disconnected than ever.

This debate is multifaceted and complicated, so to help you sort through your own relationship with mobile devices, we’ve rounded up a selection of books offering different perspectives on mobile devices, how we use them, and how they’re affecting us.

Hamlet’s Blackberry by William Powers

At a time when we’re all trying to make sense of our relentlessly connected lives, this book presents a bold new approach to the digital age. Part intellectual journey, part memoir, Hamlet’s BlackBerry sets out to solve what William Powers calls the conundrum of connectedness. Our computers and mobile devices do wonderful things for us. But they also impose an enormous burden, making it harder for us to focus, do our best work, build strong relationships, and find the depth and fulfillment we crave. Hamlet’s BlackBerry argues that we need a new way of thinking, an everyday philosophy for life with screens. To find it, Powers reaches into the past, uncovering a rich trove of ideas that have helped people manage and enjoy their connected lives for thousands of years. New technologies have always brought the mix of excitement and stress that we feel today. Drawing on some of history’s most brilliant thinkers, from Plato to Shakespeare to Thoreau, he shows that digital connectedness serves us best when it’s balanced by its opposite, disconnectedness.

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