It starts out with a buzz. It’s just a whisper that grabs your attention. “I’ll ignore it”, you think. But then it lights up and suddenly the whisper is persistent until it turns into a shout: “LOOK AT ME!” You give into the temptation, pick up your phone, and check the latest Snapchat you just received.
Pretty intense, right? But sometimes, that’s how it feels. It’s almost instinct to pick it up. Our generation has become incredibly dependent on our phones, and it seems we can’t leave our houses without them anymore. They can be great in moderation, but phone usage is a slippery slope that’s hard to climb back up.
I’ll admit I’m an avid Snapchat user. It’s a great way to instantly see what my old friends from home are up to. Our phones can provide an instant connection to those we love, and provide fast, accessible communication. In seconds, you can find out what’s going in any corner of the world.
Still, phones have also become a crutch for us. They distract us from normal living scenarios, and we get lost in the depths of the Internet too quickly. Have you ever noticed how whenever there’s a dull moment in a conversation or an awkward silence, people instantly reach for their phones and scroll through their Instagram feed? We bypass social interaction altogether because phones help us escape. Phones also are used for record-keeping, but far too excessively. Have you been to a concert and seen everyone’s phones out? Whatever happened to living in the moment? Why are we so obsessed with documenting and sharing our experiences? Do we even remember life before the cell phone epidemic? How did things spiral out of control so quickly? Is there a cure?
This past week, a few of us at The Prattler downloaded “RealizD”, an app that collects data on your daily cell phone usage and allows you to to set a limit on it as well. Personally, I felt that by using the app, I was encouraged to put my phone down. I knew I was being monitored, so I wanted to decrease the time I wasted. I looked at social media less and found that I had more time to dedicate to my work. Now, I challenge you to download this app. It will be an eye-opening experience to see how much you use your phone each day. From there, see if you can use your phone less and focus on other activities instead. Go outside, walk around and simply appreciate your surroundings. Don’t take your phone with you. When you’re with your friends, keep your phone out of sight. Just cherish the time you have together and really connect. If you’re bored, spend some time alone with your thoughts, or pick up a book and start reading. Look up long enough to have new adventures, meet new people, and value the ones already in your life.
Image by Olivia Kwiatkowski