Ever since I was fifteen years old and got my first cell phone, the world of smartphone technology has taken off. They’re on the sixth iPhone, with multiple versions of some of the models, and the Samsung Galaxy series is a close contender. There are a number of other great smartphones besides them, too. With today’s technology, you have the world at your fingertips. You can look up the location of anywhere, download thousands of games, be constantly connected to friends via a multitude of social media sites, and can look up anything you want online. You literally can figure out how to do anything you think of on a smart phone.
But is it a good thing?
As a twenty-one year old college student with the iPhone 4S, I should want the latest technology when it comes to smartphones. I should want to constantly keep in contact with friends via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. But I don’t. Sure, I have all of those apps and use some pretty frequently, but why? That’s the question I have been asking myself constantly lately.
Walking around campus has been kind of like an observational study for me. I’ve been particularly interested in watching the interactions between people, and it’s been disheartening. People often walk in groups and instead of talking, they all have their heads bowed and are looking at their phones. People sit at a table together during meals and are absorbed into their phone. I’ve experienced it a bunch on personal levels. I’ll be walking with a friend and keeping a conversation going, but eventually there’s no response from the friend. When I look over, they have their phone out and are typing away to a text message that must have been more important than the actual conversation they were having with me.
Communication between individuals has declined. I’m not talking about the keep-in-touch or shoot-me-a-text-or-email type of communication. I’m talking the real, raw, emotional type. The face-to-face conversations, where emotions are not annihilated through text. In today’s society, we hide behind screens. We lack communication skills that would have been necessary fifteen years ago. Personally, I have been broken up with through a text after dating someone for over a year. The anger and disappointment that I felt when I realized he didn’t have the courage to speak to me in person really sparked me to think about the effect technology has on us, especially phones.
Phones enable us to constantly share our every move throughout the day. Twitter lets us post our thoughts, Facebook is mostly used for sharing important parts of our lives, Instagram lets us post our favorite photos, and Snapchat lets us send pictures of what we are doing. I’ll admit that Facebook is something that I won’t be giving up, just because it is good to keep in contact with family and friends, as well as be updated somewhat with their live. But I will use it much less frequently since I won’t have that constant access from my phone. But the rest of these sites, I can live without. I currently do have an Instagram that I post to regularly, but it’s mostly just nature and small joys in my life, and a twitter that I don’t use very often. Snapchat is just fun to use. But I’ve realized I don’t want them anymore, and I will be getting rid of them before I switch to a simple phone. As I look around at the people sitting in the student lounge at my college, I know I could easily look up their social media accounts and figure out so much about them. They’re constantly posting to their social media sites right form their phone, at any time of the day. We are able to have access to internet wherever we are, and that makes us constantly connected. And I don’t want it.
What I really want to gain from moving to a basic phone is real communication with people. I want people to have to ask me who I am and about my life face-to-face. I don’t want them to be able to know my life story by looking up my accounts. And what’s the point of paying nearly one hundred dollars a month for a technology that I really don’t need? It just makes a distraction from the world around me. Some people will tell me it’s good for checking emails or using the GPS. I have a laptop I can use almost as easily as a phone when I’m at college, and I know how to read a map. I just want to really meet people and see the world around me. I don’t know how many times my friends, as well as myself, have missed something happening around us because we were distracted by our phones. I don’t want to be absorbed into a cell phone anymore because there’s so much more I can be doing instead. The world is a huge place, with so many places and people to see. I’m young, adventurous, and independent and know that I don’t need to constantly have access to the people in my life. I’d much rather write a letter or actually meet up with a friend who I haven’t seen in a while. Of course, I want to be able to reach family and friends in case of an emergency, but I don’t need a smartphone to do it.
So as a twenty-one year old college student, I’ve made the decision that once my contract is up in about a month, I will switch to a new phone. It will be a basic flip phone, with no internet access. It’s time to become disconnected so I can work on real relationships with the people around me, something that a smartphone has taken away from me.