How many times have you heard “hey, did you get my text?” in the last week? Be honest, because when you think about it, those words are kind of silly. We’re all guilty of it, but why didn’t we just tell the person what we had originally texted them in the first place? It’s because we as a society have become accustomed to using technology and mobile devices so much they’ve almost become our main form of communication.
There was a time before iPhones and Androids, before brick-sized phones and car phones, when people had to walk 5 miles to and from school uphill both ways in the rain, snow and blazing heat. You’ll hear a lot of older people say things like “back in the olden days” then they’ll start to describe how they wrote letters to each other or only had one phone in their house attached to the kitchen wall. I know while they’re talking about their old black pedestal rotary phones what they’re really trying to get at is instead of walking around bumping into people because you’re on your cell phone, participate in the world that’s right in front of you. Even when cell phones first became popular it was considered rude to use your phone at dinner, but now I walk through a restaurant and see couples eating and texting at the same time. They’re not even communicating with each other and they’re sitting two feet away.
I recently went for a month without a cell phone and survived. It is possible and it also felt kind of freeing after the initial stress of it wore off. I was able to relax more since no one was trying to contact me every few minutes. People were still able to reach me by email or on Facebook and I noticed that their messages were much clearer and to the point.
The one thing I do slightly regret about the month long phone hiatus was having my car breakdown without being able to call anyone for help. Other than that god awful experience, the time I spent sans phone was pretty similar to my life before, only I had engaged more with people and enjoyed deeper conversations because I was actually listening and not thumbing through websites on my smart phone.
If you feel so busy with school and work sometimes and don’t feel like you have enough ‘me time,’ I strongly urge you to try turning off your phone for a night. If you’re not ready for drastic measures like that you can try something less extreme like leaving your phone in another room so it’s not directly on front of you. We all like to procrastinate and with your phone so easily accessible it’s the perfect distraction from the world all around you. Although there are a million apps and games to play, they’re all virtually computer generated which is nothing more than electronic pulses, metal and plastic.
It’s not that I hate smart phones or technology. Without advances in technology we’d all still be cave people and that’s amazing, but we shouldn’t let it hinder our real-life experiences. I’m back to the normal phone having society now, but sometimes I really just want to slap people square in the mouth when I see them causing traffic accidents because of their cell phone addiction. It’s also really sad to see someone miss a shooting star because they’re too enthralled with a game of Angry Birds.
a short opinion piece I wrote for the Brookhaven Courier