Let me set the scene. My boyfriend and I are living in Australia in a beautiful apartment on the beach. We just spent an hour making a student-worthy meal and have opened a bottle of $4 wine to appropriately complement it. We sit down at the table with a candle lit and his iPhone remains between us. Mind you this is no first date, we have been together for 4 years and comfort levels have been well established — but instead of wanting to know how my day went, he wants to know the current standings of the NHL playoffs. He’s eating with a fork in his right hand and scrolling with his left (he is not ambidextrous so I can’t imagine this is an easy task). He’s struggling, but manages. Eye twitching, I force feed myself with a permanently unimpressed expression painted on my face.
The worst part is, I can’t say I’m not guilty of doing this from time to time. It’s not that I’m just being a whiney partner who wants to see no phones at the table (okay, maybe a small part of me is) but the thoughts flowing through my head at this point are much bigger than that.
Have we totally forgotten our manners? Disengaging from the people you are sitting with at a dinner table is something our parent’s would shame us for.
5 Solid Reasons To Boycott Your Cell Phone:
1. Cell phones have become our crutch. Not many people will argue this. Who wants to live with something you are utterly dependent on? Think about what we use our phones for now. Directions, browsing photos of strangers, checking the weather two weeks in advance, texting our friends, scheduling our lives, playing games, using Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, the list goes on and on. Basically, our cell phones have become a one-stop-shop for everything we need to do in life.
The fact is, researchers recently found the average person spends 90 minutes a day on their phone. That translates to 23 days a year or 3.9 years of the average persons life spent staring at a tiny little screen. This precious time we could be using to create valuable memories is being mindlessly wasted.
Don’t get me wrong, all of the aforementioned things are essential to any person living a modern day life, but there are other ways we can go about completing these tasks. Ways that a more directly connected generation (reference your parents) had managed to live with.
For example, consider directions. If you want to get somewhere, try getting out an old-fashioned map and challenge your brain by connecting point A to point B. I once did this during a road trip up the coast of Northern Australia, and not only did I survive — I had something to frame afterwards as a souvenir.
Taking Pictures. Does anyone keep a photo album anymore? What if Facebook were to suddenly crash and all of the precious photos from your high school days were gone forever? I’d like to hold on to my memories of a 2007 toga house party, and that time I took a party bus to Niagara Falls after prom.
Weather. What is this insatiable need we have to know what the weather forecast is a week in advance? Unless you have something important planned, who cares what the forecast is for next Thursday afternoon?
Talking to friends. Call them, go visit them, have lunch or coffee with them. Conversation is stimulating. Wouldn’t you rather see their lovely face then read the words they sent you via text message? We too often pass up these opportunities to go be with our friend’s because of the simplicity there is in just texting them.
Scheduling. Write in a planner like your 10-years-old again. Call it an experiment.
Playing games. Go play Scrabble or get aggressive over a game of monopoly. There’s more competitiveness in it when you play with people and not just yourself.
Disconnect, I dare you.
2. Our poor children don’t stand a chance. Kids are already faced with privacy concerns, cyber-bullying, poor academic performance and an inability to inhibit true social interaction. Let’s consider how many ways cell phones disable children before we think of how it enables them.
As technology continues to advance they’ll become less connected on personal levels and more connected on technological ones. I think we’ve all made the joke by now that our kids will see an iPhone 5 the way we see Zack Morris’ prehistoric device. If that’s the case, what kind of unimaginable piece of technology will our children be using? *Cringes*
I feel a desperate need to hold on to the way I grew up. The only bully I ran into was in the schoolyard. I didn’t have to worry about cyber-bullies attacking me online during times when I wasn’t even in school.
When I needed to learn my timetables, I sat down at the kitchen table with my Grandpa for eight hours while he patiently waited for me to learn. There were no easy answers that Google could provide.
If I wanted to see a friend from school, I picked up my home phone and called their home phone and asked their parents if they could come out and play. Or even better, I’d walk to their house and knock on the door. I feel like everyone knows a family now that doesn’t even bother with home phone because everyone in their unit has a cell phone instead.
God knows my children are going to think I’m a fossil, or worse, they won’t even be able to comprehend why I would encourage them to do such things because by then cell phones will be so second nature. How can we be examples for our children when it comes to personal interaction if we don’t value these ideals ourselves?
3. There is so much natural beauty in the world that we are missing. Vacations have become a way of clogging Instagram feeds that make non-vacationing people feel awful. You’re supposed to do that when you get back, remember? Vacations were designed for us to get away from our stresses and relax. My pseudo sister-in-law once told me a hilarious story of how her boyfriend once yelled at her for wanting to pull over the car on a road trip so she could take a photo of something. The response she got was a pained, “Ugh, can’t you just remember it?” The answer is yes, yes we can.
Go ahead; take some vacation photos for the previously mentioned photo album but please, can we stop sharing pictures of palm trees, bathing suits, alcoholic beverages and selfies with our acquaintances? Let’s spend more time going for walks, enjoying the company of our loved ones and soaking up the aura of beautiful landscapes with nothing more than our minds.
4. Nothing is private anymore. Imagine our parents and their parents before them. They knew who they knew and that was it. A new face came with a one-on-one interaction. They went about their days for however many years and everything they ever did was for them, their families, and their friends to know about and remember. There weren’t 1,000 other people watching their every move. Unless you were of celebrity status, a life was a private thing. They had no idea what their sister’s friends girlfriends newborn looked like, nor did they care. They had no idea what the person in their English class looked like half-naked unless they took them on a date first. There was a whole world of things going on around them and they were blissfully unaware. Call it a mystery but look at this way, there was more to discover.
5. If it’s not enough that cell phones are unhealthy addictions, how about that they may be unhealthy to us in a physical sense. They create electromagnetic fields, and we haven’t lived with them long enough to determine the long-term health effects they may have on us. The hypochondriac in me panics a little every time my boyfriend puts his work phone and his personal phone in the SAME pocket. Here’s to hoping we aren’t making the same mistake we made with promoting tobacco 65 years ago.
I challenge you to put your phone down for an entire day. If you manage to live through it, put it down for an entire week. At least give yourself the opportunity to be independent and not have to succumb to a device for 3.9 years of your life.