Our phones are our security blankets. When our phone battery hits the red it’s as if we ourselves are dying. Your phone is your right hand man, radio, GPS, (especially for this directionally challenged girl), camera, weather man, alarm clock, wallet, books, and everything in between. Not to mention the communication abilities it provides us with.
If you look into a crowd today, you’ll see a sea of bent heads, eyes fixated on the shiny device as if hyptonized. Everyone moving in a conformed fashion, without so much as an acknowledgement to the person next to them. It makes one think our obsession with the computer we can hold in one hand, might just be a problem.
According to CNN, on average, people check their phones 34 times a day, sometimes with only a 10-minute break between checks. The Huffington Post states that 73% of Americans would feel panicked if they lost their phone, while 14% frantically admitted they would feel “desperate.”
Phones have become such a major part of our existence that without a phone you’re viewed as some sort of inhuman freak. Well here’s a freak’s perspective from four months without a phone.
Read on and I’ll share what I’ve learned. (Don’t worry I’m not going to pressure you into giving up your precious device.)
1. Interactions with people are becoming shallow
Being an outlier (sounds a lot nicer than a freak) gives you a fresh and new perspective. The distance from my phone allowed me to see (and maybe judge) those who tightly grasp their phone like a lifeline through clearer lens.
I witnessed countless examples at restaurants where no one talks to anyone. Oh wait, yes they are…they’re actually talking to like 4 different people. Just not the people sitting right in front of them.
Then there’s those obnoxious people who pull their phones out every five minutes at movies. For some reason their blinding screen is too important to focus on or enjoy the movie they just payed a fortune to see.
Now, what you do with your phone isn’t my problem, by any means. But, how would you react if while we were talking to each other, I pulled out a book and read a couple pages, then lay it aside with a smile, “Sorry, what were you saying?” Now obviously that reading could wait until later, but how much more different is it to devalue your companion’s presence by constantly checking your phone?
Our deep connections have been replaced with shallow, reflective screens that can connect us to complete strangers in a split second. Gone are the deep, meaningful discussions and face-to-face interactions.
2. Time is being wasted
Without a phone, I was shocked with how much more time I had on my hands. I was able to actually sit down and give my undivided attention to that book I’ve been thinking about finishing for ages. Meditation and deep thinking became so much easier and less of a hassle for me. Without the constant call from my phone I wasn’t sucked into it’s dark, swirling vortex of entertainment and endless scrolling. I was able to regain control of my time and become so much more productive.
3. We’re uncomfortable with being alone
Think about it. When was the last time you sat in silence and actually enjoyed being alone. I mean really alone. We literally carry our friends everywhere with us. They’re always there, even in the bathroom. I won’t deny that humans are social beings, I’ve been identified as a social butterfly more than once. I love people, socializing is necessary for mental health. That’s why solitary confinement is such a horrible punishment.
But, because of our phones we’re losing all that beautiful time to self reflect. We’re no longer setting aside that time to exist for ourselves.
Don’t just exist in the eyes of others, or in the reflection of your shiny screen. Take the time to ponder why you exist. What your existence means without your constant companion.
Now before you sign me off as some raving lunatic, I will admit I didn’t exactly enjoy this sabbatical from my phone. But I believe its important to realize that we’re the first generation to have such a wide range of access to technology. Which makes us the guinea pigs.
Don’t be like the women who used to splash dog pee on their face because they were told it was good for their complexion. Or the people who thought drinking mercury would cure their diseases. Or the countless people who believed cigarettes weren’t harmful until they realized, all too late, the havoc they were playing on their health. These people passively accepted what they were told without doing the research and the hard thinking for themselves.
If there’s one thing I want you to take away from reading this post it’s this: question and criticize each new thing that comes within your reach before you hastily follow the herd.
New is not always good. Don’t blindly accept the next new thing before you know the effects it will have on you as a whole. Don’t give your phone permission to have full power over you. You control your phone. The amount of use (or complete obsession) should always be entirely in your hands.
That being said once you’ve analyzed just what role your useful, addictive device is playing in your life, feel free to refresh Instagram and watch the hilarious YouTube video of cats falling off of tables. Just don’t forget your date sitting right next to you.