Put the Phone Down!

You’re at a party and it strikes you as odd how most people are on their phones, rather than enjoying the company around them. This is a theme relevant not just to parties. You’re at a football game and you’ll notice people sitting on their phone checking Twitter instead of looking up and watching the game. 

Or, just walk into any restaurant and you’ll see people at a table with eyes glued to their phone, or better yet taking pictures of their food, rather than talking to whomever they may be sitting with. Some restaurants are even introducing tabletop pads from which you can access your social media from. 

It seems like today, everyone is more concerned with how their lives appear on social media rather than how they actually appear in person. In the last 15 years the cell phone has conquered the world.  It would be easy to make a list of 50 ways these phones have improved our lives but what about the detriments they have had on society? With a society that has become so superficial it is hard to see how the benefits outweigh the damage we are doing to ourselves.

Kyle O’Grady, a marketing alumna said, “I understand technology has its advantages, but we are being ruled by the technology rather than using it as a tool anymore.” “I have seen people at parties sit on their phones the entire night. Then the next morning they put up a picture saying what an amazing time they had,” said O’Grady.

The main focus seems to have become more on how other people will view your life, instead of actually looking at your own life and living in the moment. The common phrase “pics or it didn’t happen” is the epitome of the evil that social media has caused. “Pics or it didn’t happen” is a common phrase meaning if you go out and do not post a picture or a story on snapchat, how does anyone know if you actually went out? 

People have forgotten what it is like to just live a day without thinking, ‘Oh I should put that on my Snapchat’ or frequently checking for new posts on Instagram. With all the time people spend on their phone, they forget that life is happening and just passing them by, and everyone is failing to live in the moment. 

There is an app called “Checky” that will track how many times in a day you check your phone. This could be a scary wake up call for some people but also a good starting point. The first step is admitting you have a problem and knowing how severe it is.

To start combatting this phenomenon is to put the phone down; this is a lot easier said than done. Society has moved in a way that you do have to check your phone somewhat frequently. Letting guardians know you are ok, updating people on plans, checking emails or just looking something up on your smart phone. 

Moderation is key. If you and friends go out to get food, try to not use your phone. A great game to play is everyone piles their phones in the middle of the table, the first person to reach for their phone, winds up paying the whole bill. 

Another way to limit your phone use is to leave the phone at home. But if you are going out with a group of friends someone will have their phone on them in a case of an emergency. 

A suggestion is to turn off notifications to certain apps so you are presented with opportunity to open your phone and look through all your apps. Maybe if you’re feeling extra brave, delete the app altogether. If that is too extreme, maybe just sign out the certain app after using it. Signing out forces you to have sign back in if you go to use it again, meaning that you can’t just mindlessly open them up and scroll through whenever you have a free second. 

There is nothing wrong with using a smartphone. They have improved our lives in many ways. The problem lies in the addiction we have and not being able to put them down. Our generation needs to realize how much time, and life in general, that we’re missing while we check our phones.