This past summer, I switched from a regular cell phone to a smart phone. I didn't really want to do this because I didn't have the money to pay an extra $15 a month for internet charges but all the other phones were crap. Turns out my new phone is crap too – I bought a blackberry. Bad decision. I guess should've gone with the iPhone. Most kids my age have an iPhone. In fact, most adults have iPhones. I'm sure more than 50% (maybe even more than 75%) of the US population owns or has owned an iPhone. Now one of my closest friends owns an iPhone. I just happen to room with this friend who I know to be addicted to her cell phone. She is on it all the time. When she wakes up in the morning, she checks her facebook through her phone. When she is watching TV or doing homework, she is texting. When she goes to bed, she is playing a game. She listens to a Pandora App even though she has a perfectly working iPod.
Anyway, let's get to the real point of this blog. The other night my roommate and I were both laying in our beds talking. She was on her phone texting or something, of course, and I was on the other side of the room watching the backlight dance on the walks. Our conversation changed every minute or so and at one point we began talking about things we loved and felt we couldn't live without – material things of course. I said I couldn't live without a notebook to write in, books to read and I couldn't live without my music, etc. We kept naming other things as they cropped into our brains and as I was trying to name a 5th one, my friend says "your phone?". Now, she had already listed her phone as something she couldn't live without which didn't surprise me but she knows how I feel about phones. Why would she ever assume I would say I couldn't live without my phone? Is it because most people today can't live without their phones? I mean seriously – what makes a smart phone so great that people can't live without them? If anything, I've observed that phones (smart phones in particular) take away my personal time – personal time with myself, personal time with my friends, family, and MY LIFE! If anything I wish I could live without it! And it isn't just me this is happening to. People all around the world are falling victim to their smart phones!
Smart phones are apart of society now. Society has also replaced books with the kindle and says its okay to carry around an iPad to check your twitter while you go on vacation because as you know, vacations aren't for relaxing and getting away from everyday things like twitter! Oh and another thing, that was sarcasm. Seriously? We can't leave our home without our iPad or smart phone? Why do people bring these things with them when they go out to eat? I went to my local Burger King and saw a dad eating with his kids but he was on an iPad ignoring them! Why do we need to watch TV on the go so badly? Do we need that on our phones? Last time I checked, I used my phone for, I don't know, PHONE CALLS! Why do we need to text our friend that badly? Will they die if we don't text back in a minute or less? Why do we need to see our facebook newsfeed every five seconds? Is this all an addiction? – because it seems to me that people are as much addicted to the internet and mobile technology as alcoholics are to the drink.
One commercial I see constantly is for AT&T and it is about how high speed their internet is. Before I go into how ridiculous this commercial is, let me say how ridiculous their promotion for high speed internet is. I have AT&T and their internet is crap. They claim it is this great thing but when I just go on to check the weather (because there's an App for that!) it won't load and says my internet server is down! So what is supposed to be convenient is actually more of a hassle then just flicking on the TV or getting a thermometer! Anyway, in this AT&T commercial, it shows these two guys at a football game and they are getting all their information at lightning speed and they know everything before anyone else because they are hot shots. The commercial then ends showing the two guys sitting next to each other texting. Does anyone else see the problem with that picture? Or is it not obvious enough? What happened to face to face contact? What happened to actually talking to your friends when you see them? Because through that commercial and personal experience, I have found that people would rather text everyone on their contacts list than sit and pay attention to my prescience. And it's not that I'm full of myself. I get that people sometimes have other things on their minds. But when I have a friend over, I barely text at all. In fact, I sometimes ignore my text messages while I am with them! And guess what? I can't win that way either because then the friend who texted me is mad about why I didn't text back right away! Oh, I'm sorry – are you mad because I have A LIFE? Are you that bored that you are depending on my response to entertain you? Go read a book for crying out loud!
Going back to friends texting while you are hanging out with them: I get that you want to text back a short message like okay, 4 sounds good to meet for lunch tomorrow. Texting is apparently apart of our lives now so things like this can happen. No big deal. But if you are texting every minute and not listening to what I'm saying to you, it is a big deal! Do you know how much that hurts? The same friend I mentioned in the beginning of this blog constantly texts while I talk and either acts like she hears me even though it is clear she didn't, doesn't respond at all to what I'm saying, or says "what? I didn't catch that". One day I found the guts to confront her about it and she got defensive and said "I was texting my friend Sara! I haven't talked to her in a while" and got mad at me for wanting to have a conversation with her. I mean, after all, we are best friends and last time I checked, best friends don't listen to what the other has to say. Catch the sarcasm again? If you're going to be with someone, be there. If you're texting, you are not there. You're just not.
This is an addiction. My friend sleeps with her phone. Literally sleeps with it by her side as if it is a teddy bear. She claims to be tired but keeps texting and then goes on to say she can't sleep. Maybe if you turn the phone off, you will be able to sleep.
Now don't get me wrong, I know there are some good sides to smart phones. After all, they are supposed to make our lives easier and technology really does help the world out a lot. As a college student, I rely a lot on getting my email directly to my phone because it tells me if I have a cancelled class. Another thing I check a lot, as I stated a few paragraphs above, is the weather (when it works). But you know, I could live without those two things. I mean, for most of my college career I have lived without a smart phone. If I did it before, I can do it again.
Here's the question I pose – are smart phones really that smart? Because it seems like they are making us stupid – and lazy. Sure they have some good qualities but it seems the bad outweigh the good. People are addicted to their smart phones and are forgetting about their lives. Self-esteems are becoming lower and lower. I dare you to turn your phone off tonight. If you use it for your alarm, turn it off anyway and ask a friend to wake you up.
Better yet, I dare you to watch this video by youtuber, BlimeyCow. Take a look and then take a second to think over how smart a smart phone makes us. Thanks for reading.