Do you ever really think about how phones have invaded our lives? I mean, I know we are all aware of it but do you ever let the reality of it all sink in? Because I sure as hell do, I feel as if it is almost hard not to. Each day passes and phones take more precedence in our lives. And when you consider the fact that they’ve only been around for the last 30 years or so, really only becoming popularized within the past 10/15, it’s kind of astounding that life is nearly unimaginable without them. (This is not a universal truth, obviously underdeveloped countries and nations do not have the same privilege of the wealthier ones. But it is truth that we, myself and anyone who reads this, can identify with.) As a society, we have resigned to the power and control of a device and accepted it as an integral part of our lives.
Think about it; phones have become a sort of central focus for the average person. Understandably so, as they allow us to connect with friends/family/co-workers, source nearly all of our information (such as news, politics, so on and so forth) and provide us with entertainment. But phones put us in a “take with a grain of salt” situation because despite the positive aspects, we also have to reconcile with all the negative aspects that follow. I mean, collectively, we rely on our phones more than we do other people. Social media has perpetuated the idea that we need validation from other’s more than ever before, and also has increased narcissistic tendencies. (Which might not be that bad because of the greater evil, insecurities, people deal with everyday.) But perhaps the biggest downside of it all, for me at least, is the fact people have seemingly interest in face to face contact. You like how I am just throwing these statements at you with no information attached? Am I gonna elaborate? Obviously I am, clearly I have put thought into these claims people.
How many times do you look at your phone when you’re hanging out with friends? How many hours do you spend staring at a screen that rarely offers a different visual, or set of visuals? How long do you scroll through Twitter everyday? How many times do you open Snapchat in an hour? In today’s world, more often than not, we do these things an absurd amount. We have nearly lost the ability to disconnect. We go to concerts now and people are watching they performance on their phones, making sure their hand stays steady and keeps the image while the record the show. Everything has become an outing we need pictures to document, showcasing outfits, looks, hairstyles. We want people to know where we are, who we’re with, what we did. Arguably, it keeps the masses entertained and makes people feel significant, which really isn’t all that bad. So, though I have my qualms about social media, it is not the issue I seem to be having the most trouble with.
You see, I am beginning to crave genuine human interaction. When I talk to someone, I miss their attention. Their eyes following mine as I speak, their head nodding along with me as I continue to bullshit my way through nearly every conversation. I miss the engagement aspect of it all. I am sick and tired of people watching their phone for a conversation, merely looking up every now and then to show you’re still “listening”. Tired of having to repeat myself because someone had more interest in what was on their phone as opposed to what I was saying. (I am speaking in the first person here but understand I am not a great example because everything I say is never that interesting or relevant, but it’s getting the point across effectively so I have to do it.) I am so unbelievably exhausted with hearing a video opened on snapchat or instagram or twitter in the middle of a conversation. Sick of being less interesting than a goddamn cell phone. Come on, people.
And it’s not only the lack of real interaction that is beginning to wear me down, it’s the ever lurking presence of our phones. So many people can no longer sit through a movie without succumbing to the temptation of our phones being right within reach. I’ll be sitting at home watching a movie, that we chose to put on, with my family or friends and 9 times out of 10, majority of the room will pay more attention to their phone than what is on the tv. Now I know in this scenario, phones and tv are kind of the battle between the lesser of two evils, but that is missing the point. It hurts me when I go out to eat with friends and they sit with their phones out for majority of the dinner, or worse yet, keep their eyes glued to it instead of engaging with the table. I see people come into the restaurant I work at and an entire table will sit with their phones out when they lose interest in conversation. I understand phones can be a crutch, but at what cost? You go to a concert now and people are more caught up with getting the perfect picture or video. They no longer live in the moment of it. Rather than enjoy the show while it’s happening, they want videos to recreate it later. Worse yet, people video themselves during the show as if to prove they had fun while they were there. It just kills me to watch. Last night, I went to see Harry Styles and would occasionally get distracted by the girl to my left because she was so caught up in her phone capturing the show. There are very few people who are merely content with existing in the moment.
I yearn for the spontaneity in people that phones detract from. I miss living in a world where we can simply exist. Phone have taken the natural order of this world and shifted it. Our focus is divided between what’s happening in front of us and what is happening elsewhere, it’s all too much. When did we give up on firsthand experiences for phones? When did we put more importance Into what is online as opposed to what is happening in real life? I know I am not the only one who craves all that got lost to phones, but I am one of the few who is struggling to cope with the adjustment everyone else overcame without trouble. But, I guess it’s just a sign of the times and I should move on. (I won’t, because I am incredibly bitter and resolute when I want to be. I guess that’s just me being out of place and out of touch with society yet again. Lame, I know.)
Now, if this post paints me a martyr of sorts, that was not what I was trying to do. I am both an active cell phone and twitter user (though not instagram or snapchat, because i am just bitter and truthfully hate those two more than anything else about phones but i am not here to bash only to observe and shout my opinions into an oblivion as if it matters or means anything), so I catch myself doing almost everything I criticize above. Which is part of the reason why I “penned” this post anyways, to draw attention the ridiculousness of us all getting so caught up in phones. So, in some way, I hope this allows you to reflect on the fact your phone does not need to be such an integral part of you day to day life. Perhaps my nonsense will come to mind when you’re phone distracts you from what’s going on right in front of you. Well, in hopes to avoid sounding like a broken record, I should go.
Till next time, friends.