ARDMORE, OK -- Nielsen estimates that by this Christmas half of Americans will have a smartphone, and many question what effect this will have on social interaction. Professionals say research shows the increase in technology and social media is affecting the quality of our relationships, as well as changing our ability to pay attention.
Clinical Therapist at Oklahoma Families First Kristi Crutchfield Cox says technology can be a good and bad thing. She says studies have shown some of the things lost is our sense of patience, and the immediate connection with each other. Cox says it's worrisome to think half of the U.S. will have a smartphone at the palm of their hand.
That yes, it's great we have all this connection, but she says it's a "distracted connection".
"I think it's kind of like Pandora's Box. We can have a lot of chaos with that. We have to think about how we're going to let that technology invade our lives. Is it going to make us a slave to it? Or are we going to use it for our own benefits," Cox said.
Nineteen-year-old Lane Davis says he relies a lot on his smartphone.
He says it's scary how dependent we've become on technology, and wonders how it would be if everyone was stripped of their phones.
"I really think this world would crash without phones. If you were to take everybodys's phone's away for a day it'd be like World War III. People couldn't get to work, people wouldn't be able to communicate with each other, wouldn't be able to meet up. It would be tragic," Davis said.
Cox says many from this generation who have grown up with the abundant technological devices we have today almost don't know how to live without them. She says the gap between younger and older generations are getting smaller as the older generations are catching up to speed with the new technology.
Cox says people too dependent on technology is letting it get in the way of life, as it's destroyed marriages, and other types of relationships.
"If you're at dinner put your phone up, if you're with your kids put your phone up, have them put their phone up. Get back to communicating when you're with people," Cox said.
Already cellular companies are starting to see an increase in smartphone sales as AT&T says this has been the "best-ever second-quarter" for selling smartphones where nearly 70 percent of total postpaid sales have been smartphones.