The Cell Phone Trap
They are truly remarkable devices. I can contact my wife, my mom, and whoever else at any moment of any day. I can look up who has played Batman the most times, I can order food, and a million other things. Cell phones are awesome, and they are forever a prevention of boredom.
It seems that we as humans have a tendency to let these things run our lives.
Cell phones (and typically the social media we access with it) are constantly pulling for our attention. Not only do I receive alerts from my phone, but there is also a constant reminder in my pocket that the option to scroll through Twitter is always there. If I have a free moment where something isn’t happening in my life, I pull out the phone and mindlessly start scrolling. I think it’s a little out of control for me to be honest.
From what I see in the world around me, it’s out of control for a lot of people.
When I’m stopped at a red light in my car, I would say ¼ people who drive by me are looking at their phone while driving. We can’t even drive 15 minutes without looking at our phones. We walk around looking down at our phones instead of observing the beautiful world around us (also, we we look ridiculous craning our necks down like that).
So, yes I think cell phones can be an issue if left unchecked, for myself and for others in society. If we aren’t careful, cell phone use can significant unfavorable impacts in our lives. Really, I think there are 3 specific areas that cell phone can negatively affect us.
Do you check your phone constantly at work or at school? If so, that’s a problem. Every time you check your phone, you are pulling your mind and attention away from work. Even if your job doesn’t thrill you, even if it isn’t your future, there are always better things you can be doing to develop as a professional than scrolling through your phone. It turns out that watching puppy videos isn’t a highly sought after skill in most fields (though they are great).
Face to Face
This is the one that concerns me the most. So often I see people choosing to look at their phone rather than engage with the person across from them. In my opinion phones help us to avoid pursuing depth in our relationships because sometimes it’s easier to look at our phone or take a selfie than it is to ask an engaging question. When conversation lulls, don’t look of your phone, ask a good question that helps you to learn more about the person across from you.
For me, I have found that it is really easy to spend a lot of my free time looking at my phone. When I look back on my day though, I see that I could have spent that time reading or writing, both of which are things I love and I think help me to grow as a person. We all have different things that help us grow or bring us joy, could you be doing more of those things if you put the phone down more?
Again, I don’t think cell phone are bad, but I do think that unless we are proactive, they can hinder our ability to work, connect, and grow. Use the phone for the good, and don’t get caught scrolling your day away.