Friend or phone?

When was the last time you turned your phone off? Like actually held down the iPhone button for 3 seconds and swiped right to power down. Probably not since the 2007 premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

But seriously, millennials, myself included, are all too obsessed with cell phones, even if it means unlocking your phone just to see that no one has texted you. (Mom, please text me back) Walking around campus I regularly bump into students who aren’t paying attention because they are so engrossed in whatever is on their phone that they can’t even see where they’re walking. Why is that? When did it become universally acceptable to sit in class playing candy crush for the whole fifty-minute class period? Or meeting friends for dinner, but texting other people during the meal?

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s awesome that people are taking advantage of the technological progress that has been made in the last decade, but it’s almost a little overwhelming. We use our phones and computers for work and entertainment, but how close are we to replacing human interaction with technology?

Many people feel lonely and disconnected when they don’t have their phones, but this makes it so difficult to be “in the moment” when spending time with friends and family.

Cisco’s annual global Connected World Technology Report (CCWTR) in 2012 discovered that two-thirds of millennials were reported to spending just as much, if not more time socializing online rather than in person with friends. Imagine how many more kids socialize online now compared to the CCWTR 2012 report.

Technology has opened the door to more ideas and inventions, but at the cost of developing greater human relationships.

Every time I go to my grandma’s house there is a running joke that she will collect all of our electronics and keep them in a basket while we’re at her house. I would like to say that I’d be fine not having my phone for a few hours, or even a day or two, but lets be real. I would die. Not really, but I’d be digging my own grave.

The feeling that you’re missing out on what your friends are doing or not being able to listen to Beyoncé’s new album freaks people out. For a generation to be constantly surrounded by social media and technology it only seems right that we use our phones 25/7. Yes, because 24 hours isn’t enough time for us to stalk people on Instagram and creep on our old gym teacher’s Facebook page from sixth grade.

So…. what can we do to unplug and connect with people on a deeper level?

  1. Put the phone down. I know it will be hard, but I promise you I will be there right next to you with a box of tissues and an ear ready to listen to your problems.
  2. Wherever you are be ALL there. If you’re grabbing lunch with friends you can take a phone break for 30 minutes to talk and catch up with friends.
  3. Relax. I promise you that you’re really not missing out on that much and it’s good to take a break from using your phone for a while. Meditate, go on a walk, go dig a hole to China! So many opportunities when you look up from your screen.

Technology isn’t going to stop advancing and I don’t expect you to take up the caveman lifestyle and move into the woods. If you choose to do that that’s awesome for you. I’ll send some berries and twigs your way. Just remember that wherever you find yourself, be all there.