By Kendyl Bennett
How is our love for our smart phones impacting our lives and relationships? Do our phones help or hurt more? Many people today can’t even eat a meal without checking their phone. When things get awkward, people turn to their phone for comfort or as a way to avoid an awkward situation.
In her 2015 article “Why It’s Time To Put Your Cell Phone Down. Seriously” Zosia Bielski, states that “American adults check their phones every 6 1/2 minutes, or approximately 150 times a day.” This is far too much time spent on our cellular devices. People say there phones help them stay connected when that’s really the last thing they are being used for. We get bored and start tapping our phone to start up conversations that are meaningless just to pass the time or to scroll through our newsfeed to see what others are posting. It has reached the point where people make excuses to justify their over usage of their phone; its an emergency, or I’ve been waiting for them to get back to me, or some other reason that makes it ok to get back on the phone.
Many young people are getting phones at such an early age that it creates social problems for them. They would rather text than have an actual conversation; they don’t like to talk to people older than them or have conversations that may make them feel uncomfortable, but on the flip side, they get really brave on the phone because they don’t have to “face” the person they are talking to and might say inappropriate things. It’s important to actually have those hard conversations or be in those situations that make you uncomfortable in order to grow and develop social skills, conflict resolution skills and get good at interpersonal relationships.
At any given time if you look in restaurants, meeting rooms, or even in many homes at the dinner table where people are gathered, most of the time you will see that we set our phones right next to our plate or right in front of us making it easy to look and never miss a message, snap or tweet. Think about the message that sends to the person you are sitting next to; the text message, snap or tweet is more important than what your friend, relative or coworker has to say. We’ve actually become pretty rude. When we are with our friends, our conversations are becoming lighter and spoken with less empathy; we are so distracted by keeping track of what is going on elsewhere, we aren’t even taking notice of the happiness or sadness or excitement right in front of us. The quality of our relationships is noticeably deteriorating, but we aren’t doing anything about it.
It’s time we do something about this problem; it’s time we put our phones down and start living life face-to-face. Life is a beautiful thing and it will be wasted if we spend it staring at our smartphones. Lets pay more attention to the people around us, not the people on our screen. Conversation is a skill that allows us to connect to each other and it takes practice, so let’s practice more starting now.
Kendyl Bennett is a student at Fillmore Central High School. She is one of eight area students participating in the Journal Writing Project, now in its eighteenth year.