Disappearing into our screens


photo by Amelia Anthony

The illustration shows two people sitting at a table trying to have a conversation, but one person’s phone gets in the way of that. This demonstrates how technology has affected society today.

You just got accepted into your dream school, you are on top of the world and nothing could bring you down. You try to tell your best friend and they reply with “Wait a second. Let me finish sending this text.”

Cell phones might be pocket-sized but they have enough power to disrupt relationships. Face-to-face interaction has become rare since most communication is electronic. Going to an event or a concert is no longer a “once in a lifetime experience” because people can take out their phones and are more focused on capturing the moment rather than living it. Hanging out with friends and family does not require talking any more as everyone stares into their screens.

So why do we do this? Well, it is easy: we have become device dependent on them. Pictures, emails, important documents are all held on our phones or other devices, and it seems that losing that device would be like losing a part of ourselves. Separation from our phones is like a bad break up it brings: loneliness, sadness, and anxiety.

Maybe you have the flash of their phone screen reminder and while you are talking to someone you see it from the corner of your eye and lose track of whatever you were saying, break eye contact and pick up your device to look at whatever notification you just got. Ask yourself- how long can you go without looking at your phone?

You are out with friends and their phone dies and instantly they scavenge for a charger or an outlet. And if no one has a charger to offer, they ask for your phone to log into their Instagram or Snapchat account so they can document every moment. Attached much?

Or even worse, you are in the car and your friend is driving and they are Snapchatting or texting someone not at stoplight, no, while going at least 50 miles per hour. While the passenger is fearing for their life, the driver is more concerned about sending their message than getting to their destination alive.

All of these scenarios are everyday occurrences. This is not only insane but it is also very annoying. People disregard what is in front of them in the real world, and lose the “human interaction”.

Sure, these tendencies may never fade fully, but they can be reduced. Challenge yourself to three things. First, put your phone down in a different room for just 15 minutes each day. Do homework, eat a meal with friends or family, or to read your favorite book.

Second, balance your screen time with face time, and face time does mean FaceTime. This means face-to-face interaction with friends and family. Third, do not let your phone be the last thing you see at night and the first thing you see in the morning. It is not healthy.

Change is hard, so start slow. Do each of them once or twice a week and soon it will subconsciously become routine.

Technology will continue to advance -that is inevitable- but we cannot lose the human interaction that we truly need to survive, a need even greater than our cell phones.

Click on the image below to take a quiz and see how addicted you are to your phone