Try to think back to your first phone……harder……little harder. Was it a flip phone? Was it that blue Nokia brick phone that lit up on the sides when you got a text or call? Was it a virgin mobile phone? (BECAUSE I GOT CLOWNED FOR HAVING THAT PHONE, IT HAD THE WORD VIRGIN ON IT, WHY DID IT HAVE THE WORD VIRGIN ON IT?) The flip phone was the king for a MINUTE, the Motorola Razr?. I seriously couldn’t walk through school without seeing a few people with those things who thought they were hot shit. Then came the beginning of the smart phones, but they were still dumb as hell honestly, remember the sidekick? The blackberry? But then a couple years pass by and BAM.

Enter the iPhone

*Darth Vader entrance song*

The world changed, communication became much faster and less personal, I mean damn we could send text/voice messages with one button a few years ago, now we can “FaceTime” each other, live stream ourselves slap betting each other about the dumbest shit and snapchat whichever body part we think looks good today. What I’m trying to get at is that technology moves SO much faster than we realize and I honestly think our mental psyche cannot keep up.

We all have a base human need to communicate with one another, it’s obvious, we all have that need to be noticed. With the advent of the smart phone and social media however, we’ve also a developed an oversized need to be liked and to be constantly validated through our interactions with people. We’ve built a metaphorical fort around ourselves by creating social media outlets that allow us to disseminate information that we THINK is right and only accept information that WE like, and when we see something we don’t like? We instantly either hate it or “don’t care” about it. It’s addicting, it’s self-satisfying and it severely debilitates our ability to have a perspective of objectivity or empathy that we should have towards people or things. How could something so powerful as a handheld computer make us so easily offended by everything and make it so easy for us to ignore what’s going on around us RIGHT NOW? (That’s rhetorical, of course we’d get mentally wrecked by a mobile device that can provide literally everything except our basic human needs……I’m glad this thing can’t make food…….yet)

Ok Ant, I want the not-so-good news first, how bad is it?

Well I’m so glad you asked! It’s……uh, well…..embarrassing, a 2014 study concluded that college students spend nearly nine hours on average daily on their phones(1). NINE, and those are COLLEGE students, meaning that (hopefully) they have projects and homework and other things that take up their time which means that if you removed all those other WAY more pressing priorities, I’d bet all the money I have right now that that number would shoot up. How the hell did we go from spending so much time with friends to spending so much time on ourselves that clearly exceeds the amount of time a person even sleeps on a regular basis? Times change, we know that, but it’s hard to fully accept that when it feels like there’s a constant battle between not looking like an asshole being on your phone all day but being too awkward to put that thing down and just…..exist and enjoy what’s around you.

The study also noted that approximately 60 percent of the college students surveyed admitted that they may be addicted to their cell phone(1). I’m not an expert mathematician or anything (yet), but bruh…….that’s a lot. That’s an overwhelming majority and its scary, I can guarantee you this isn’t an isolated situation either, the culture of college students across the country is for the most part homogenous so while its bad to generalize, you can make a pretty strong case for this generalization. Do take this study with a grain of salt, this study was done with a suitable sample size amount (164 participants), BUT it was not chosen on a random basis, meaning that for example this sample came from just one class, or a certain area on campus. We can’t just ignore a study like this though, and I’ll be the first one to admit that I am on my phone all throughout the day, A LOT, and I can’t deny the fact that I do miss out on things that I’d be able to experience more fully without it eating up my attention.

Well what can we do about it? You seem like you got aaaaall the answers….…since you’re judging us.

Honestly? I don’t know what the hell to do about it, and I’m not judging! Technology provides so much for us and allows us to communicate in ways never could before, it’s vital to the interconnectivity of the world. So, what’s the best available solution? Balance. Try your hardest to balance your life between technology and self-awareness because I promise you, that real human interaction that we’ve thrown to the side for snapchat videos and Instagram likes is much more valuable than the dings and boops that your phone yells at you every minute, its slowly training your behavior and you don’t even know it. So please, be present, be here, be aware.

GO OUTSIDE, LEAVE YOUR PHONE INSIDE, GET SOME VITAMIN D. PLEASE.

Sources:

1. https://www.baylor.edu/mediacommunications/news.php?action=story&story=145864

1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4291831/