If you told somebody 50 years ago that the most world-changing invention of the near future was telephones you could carry around in your pocket, they’d probably look at you like you were insane. But it’s true—mobile phones (and the data networks that have grown with them) have drastically reshaped the way we live in thousands of different ways.
Remember when horror movies had people menaced by slashers with no way to call for help? Remember unfolding confusing paper maps, trying to find where you were on the road? Remember racking your brain to think of that actor who played a robot on that one show? All of those things are gone thanks to the incredibly powerful networked computers we carry in our pockets.
With great power comes great responsibility, however, and scientists are starting to learn that spending so much time staring at our phones is actually doing some damage to our physical, social and intellectual lives. In this feature, we’ll run down the main reasons you might want to give your phone a break for a bit. Is this enough to convince you, or do you think it’s all overblown? Let me know in the comments.