Connecting to the world

Rachel Chea

More stories from Rachel Chea

The Single Life
March 23, 2017

When is the last time you sat down and talked to someone without looking at your phone? Think about it for a minute––or better yet, not have your phone within reach or sight at all. Now, when’s the last time you had an ongoing conversation with someone, in person, where it wasn’t interrupted by one of you looking at your phone, reaching for it, or incorporating something on your phone or about your phone into the conversation? I’m not saying that everyone is like this, or that real conversations never happen anymore, they do. However, when did cell phones become our fifth limb?

Personally, I like to hide my phone from myself sometimes because I just need a break; I don’t want to deal with notifications and constantly looking at a screen. When I go out with my friends, I try to enact the rule where everyone stacks their phones in the middle of the table, and the first one to remove theirs or even try to reach for it, has to pay the bill. If you’ve never heard of doing that, try it next time you’re out with your friends or even just sitting at the table in the dining hall. Although it tends to be more effective when you’re out and money is involved.

I miss the days when everyone had simple flip phones and no internet connection, or social media, or an abundance of apps and games to distract them from real life. This growing popularity, this dependence and need for a smartphone has become unreal over the past decade. While it’s convenient for things like Google Maps, coupon apps, and sending and receiving messages instantly, I feel as though it has become somewhat of a hindrance.

When walking around campus, I tend to see just the tops of people’s heads because they’re all looking down at their phones while walking to class, waiting for class to start, and even in the dining hall. Don’t get me wrong, I’m guilty of doing it too, mostly while walking to class. However, I’m becoming more aware of it and consciously trying to stop and minimize my phone usage in public.

Aside from our generation’s addiction to smartphones, what’s even more troubling is that kids are gifted phones at such a young age. I don’t know about you, but the most advanced piece of technology I had when I was nine was a Gameboy or VideoNow. (Fun fact, I didn’t get my first cell phone until I was a freshman in college…. So maybe that makes me a little biased….)

The point I’m trying to make here is simple: in a world where everyone seems to be connected all the time and simultaneously distracted from the real world, we should take some time to disconnect. Have a conversation with someone where your phone isn’t in the picture, hide your phone from yourself sometimes, stop and smell a flower and embrace life around you. Who knows, you may discover something new about someone, your environment, or even yourself that you’ve never realized before.