English Listening-Do Phones Harm Kids Brains Ep 748

AI generated image of young children lit by the glow of the smartphones they are using. Improve your English with real-life topics you care about.

📝 Author: Hilary

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💬 2894 words ▪️ ⏳ Reading Time 15 min

📥 Download MP3 & PDF 9.0 Mb ▪️ 👓 Read Transcript ▪️ 🎧 Listen to Lesson

English Listening Practice: The Good & Bad of Smartphones

Do you find yourself or your child spending endless hours on a smartphone? Is this constant phone use affecting your daily life and social interactions? Discover how smartphones are changing our habits and mental health, and improve your English language skills in the process. Ready to listen?

What does a lesson like this to for your English learning? 📱 Real-world vocabulary for practical use 🗣️ Practice speaking on everyday topics 📖 Improve grammar and pronunciation 📈 Prepare for English exams with focused content

We don't have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it.
⭐ Erik Qualman

The most common 500 words in English account for 80% of everyday English conversation. It makes sense to prioritise learning these words, doesn’t it? That's why we created the "New 500 Most Common English Words Course", want to know more? We have a video here that explains how focusing on what you learn first can help you a LOT!

Gain confidence in your listening abilities, and understand how to articulate your thoughts on modern issues. This lesson provides practical language use in a context that mirrors real-life conversations, making it easier for you to apply what you learn in your daily interactions.

✔️ Lesson transcript: https://adeptenglish.com/lessons/english-listening-practice-impact-of-smartphones-on-children-and-teens/

I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.
⭐ Albert Einstein

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More About This Lesson

Smartphones are changing how we learn new languages, including English. This lesson explores the impact of smartphones and helps you improve your fluency with practical tips and engaging content.

Technology is a useful servant but a dangerous master.
⭐ Christian Lous Lange

A lesson that will help you enhance your spoken English skills. You'll practice everyday vocabulary, gain confidence in listening, and learn to discuss modern issues & lots more:

  1. Practice listening to British English on a relevant, everyday topic.
  2. Improve spoken English vocabulary, especially for tests.
  3. Learn through real-world examples related to mobile phone use.
  4. Understand important words like "compelling" and "addictive."
  5. Gain insight into contemporary issues affecting mental health.
  6. Hear clear explanations of complex terms in simple language.
  7. Get exposure to natural conversational English.
  8. Engage with practical discussions on daily habits and technology.
  9. Enhance comprehension with contextual vocabulary explanations.
  10. Develop critical thinking by considering smartphone impacts.

It's an interesting topic on it's own! Learn to balance smartphone use and daily activities with helpful strategies. Discover ways to use your phone without harming your mental well-being. Find out how to manage your child's phone use for their healthy growth. Tips for reducing distractions and improving study habits. Recognize signs of addiction and steps to reduce screen time. While you improve your English through listening.

Smartphones, if used wisely, can be your best friends. But they can also be your worst enemies if they become your master.
⭐ Carlos Slim

Improve your English with real-life topics you care about. Learn essential vocabulary for daily conversations. Enjoy short lessons for easy, repeatable listening practice.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  1. How can smartphones help you practice speaking English fluently? Smartphones provide numerous apps and resources that can help you practice English. Apps like Duolingo, Babbel, and Adept English podcasts offer lessons and exercises for improving your English speaking skills. By using these apps regularly, you can practice pronunciation, expand your vocabulary, and listen to native speakers, which is crucial for gaining fluency.
  2. Are there any negative effects of using smartphones for young learners of English? While smartphones offer valuable tools for learning, excessive use can lead to problems such as reduced face-to-face interaction and potential addiction to apps. Young learners might spend too much time on their phones, which can interfere with socializing and other important activities. It's essential to balance smartphone use with other learning methods and real-life interactions to avoid these negative effects.
  3. Can using smartphones improve your pronunciation and listening skills in English? Yes, smartphones can significantly enhance your pronunciation and listening skills. Listening to podcasts, watching videos, and using language learning apps can help you hear correct pronunciations and practice speaking. For example, Adept English podcasts focus on British English and provide practical listening exercises that can help you understand and imitate native speakers.
  4. How does smartphone usage affect your motivation to learn English? Smartphones can both positively and negatively impact your motivation to learn English. On the positive side, they offer convenient access to a wide range of learning materials and interactive apps that can make learning enjoyable. On the negative side, if not managed properly, they can become a distraction. Setting specific learning goals and time limits can help maintain a balance and keep you motivated.
  5. What strategies can help you use smartphones effectively for learning English? To use smartphones effectively for learning English, consider the following strategies: Determine what you want to achieve, such as improving vocabulary or pronunciation. Dedicate specific times each day for language learning. Combine different types of apps to cover various aspects of language learning. Listen to podcasts, watch videos, and read articles in English to immerse yourself in the language.

Imagine your smartphone as a double-edged sword, a tool that can either sharpen your English skills or dull your real-world interactions.

Most Unusual Words:

  • Statistic: A number that shows information about something.
  • Routines: The usual way of doing things in daily life.
  • Compelling: Having a strong influence or effect.
  • Addictive: So enjoyable that you want to do it all the time.
  • Psychology: The study of the mind and how it affects behaviour.
  • Coincides: Happens at the same time as something else.
  • Epidemic: A sudden increase in the number of cases of a disease.
  • Pandemic: A disease that spreads across many countries.
  • Correlation: A connection between two or more things.
  • Deterioration: The process of becoming worse.

Most Frequently Used Words:


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Transcript: English Listening-Do Phones Harm Kids Brains

Are we damaging our children by allowing them smartphones?

Hi there. Let’s talk about a hot topic today - do you worry about how much time your child spends on their mobile phone? Or do you worry about how much time you spend on your mobile phone? And is the effect of smartphones different depending upon your age? You’ve fedback to us that you quite like a shorter podcast because you can listen more times. So let’s discuss this important topic to give you lots of practice at spoken English on a very relevant subject that’s probably part of your everyday life. And this type of topic gives you excellent vocabulary for a spoken English language test.

Hello, I’m Hilary, and you’re listening to Adept English. We will help you to speak English fluently. All you have to do is listen. So start listening now and find out how it works.

Smartphone ownership at 98% for some age groups!

So do you own a mobile phone? Are you listening to this podcast on your mobile phone? It’s hardly worth asking the question - almost everyone has a smartphone! A statistic I found - in the UK 98% of 16 to 24 year olds own a mobile phone. And I imagine it’s similar in many other countries. And of course most people have smartphones, meaning a phone that can access the internet and therefore has which many more functions. In just a few years, these devices have become such a big part of our daily routines. On one hand, they bring us closer to people far away through apps like WhatsApp. A smartphone is a tiny mobile computer. We use it for so many things - making payments, messaging friends, keeping on top of our social media, searching for things to buy, buying things we like, saving ourselves money, organising meeting friends. It’s a wonderful piece of technology, that’s for sure. But have you ever asked yourself - do smartphones bring problems with them? Is there a negative effect?


Enjoy short lessons for easy, repeatable listening practice. An ocean of smartphones.

©️ Adept English 2024

Can smartphone use be damaging?

We are starting to consider the possibility that with widespread mobile phone ownership comes some negatives. The damage may be greatest amongst children and young people. Older people like me - I use my phone constantly - but I did have a life and experience before smartphones, even before mobile phones existed! So many of my habits and interests were formed before phones were such a big part of our lives. So my mobile phone is important, but I’m very motivated to do things which aren’t dependent upon technology and I don’t think that using my mobile phone has a particularly negative effect on me.

But where children and young people are concerned, this thinking is changing. It’s not uncommon for children in countries like the UK to have a mobile phone from the age of 10 or 11 years old. This was certainly the case for my children. And it seemed useful at those ages. They’re starting to be more independent, socialising with friends. So it’s convenient, ‘CONVENIENT’ meaning ‘it makes things easier’ - like giving lifts or any communication when your child is out of the house.

Should governments intervene to regulate addictive phone features targeted at children?

But one of the problems with mobile phones - very clever people, with expertise, knowledge of psychology have designed many of the apps - that’s APPs. That means the applications or programs. And it means that those apps are certainly compelling, if not actually addictive. The word ‘compelling’, COMPELLING means ‘it has a strong pull, it has a strong influence’. And ‘addictive’, ADDICTIVE - means that ‘ the pull to use something is so strong you can’t stop using it, even if you know it’s a bad for you’. That is addiction. So clever people have programmed the apps on our mobile phones to be ‘compelling’, to grab our attention and keep us keep using the app, long after we needed to stop. - and perhaps they’re even ‘addictive’.

Now again, adult brains are more likely to be able to resist this. But younger, not yet mature brains are much less likely to resist. And neurologically, your brain is not mature until the age of 25, 26. So the result is that young people spend so many hours on their mobile phones, more than is good.

Download the most common English words into your brain?!

Before I go on - just a quick reminder that our Most Common 500 Words will help you improve your basic English. This course is a way of installing those 500 most common words, so that you can understand them and use them automatically. If that sounds like a good idea, then head to the Courses page on our website at adeptenglish.com.

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‘The Great Rewiring of Childhood’ - Jonathan Haidt

A writer in the US that I’ve mentioned before - Jonathan Haidt - that surname is HAIDT if you want to look him up - he writes on the effects of smartphones on our children and teenagers. Jonathan Haidt makes the point that the massive rise in mental health problems - that’s especially in depression and anxiety amongst children and teenagers - well, it coincides, it ‘started from the same time’ as smartphones became more commonplace. As smartphones became more common, so did mental health problems. Jonathan Haidt’s latest book has the title ‘The Anxious Generation: How the Great Rewiring of Childhood is Causing an Epidemic of Mental Illness’. Let’s unpack that book title. If you’ve listened to my podcast 743 I talk about the meaning of the word ‘generation’, GENERATION. An ‘epidemic’, EPIDEMIC - it’s similar in meaning to the word ‘pandemic’, PANDEMIC, which you’ll know in relation to COVID-19. A ‘pandemic’ means a disease or condition that has spread everywhere and is ‘out of control’, whereas an ‘epidemic’ means ‘a sharp rise in the number of people who have this condition’. So we’re talking ‘an epidemic of mental illness’. That means ‘things that go wrong with our minds, the way we feel’. And although this relationship between smartphone usage and the deterioration - that means ‘the getting worse’ of children’s mental health - it;s impossible to prove, it’s a correlation. But the possibility of relationship between the two is clear.

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Are mobile phones reducing human connection and creating more anxiety and loneliness?

There are moves in the UK to ban children from taking mobile phones into school. And I think this is a good thing. Of course, they’re more likely to focus on their lessons, without a phone to distract them. But not having a phone with them means much more talking to friends, socialising ‘in person’. I’ve noticed that sometimes when my son gets together with his friends - who are 15 and 16 years old - they do talk and laugh and interact. But there will also be periods of time when some or all of them are on their phones even when they’re together in the same room! They are of course the generation who couldn’t go to school for around 2 years, on and off, because of COVD-19. And my son in fact made friends with his current friendship group online. It’s just that they continue to be online when they’re in the same room as one another sometimes.

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So I think this is an interesting subject - and one that affects people all across the world. And there’s quite a bit of psychology to think about. Much more to say. For example, the effect of mobile phone usage on our brain chemistry - how we become ‘wired’, designed for ‘quick reward’ because using a phone makes for more dopamine in our brains. Whereas interacting in real life with our friends - well, that feels more like a more serotonin-related activity! It’s a subject that I’ll do more podcasts on, if you’re interested!

Let’s hear from you!

As ever we love to hear from you, your opinion. In English, ideally. Let us know whether you think you’ve been negatively impacted by smartphones.


Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.

Thank you so much for listening. Please help me tell others about this podcast by reviewing or rating it. And, please share it on social media. You can find more listening lessons and a free English course at adeptenglish.com




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