The Age of Digital Dependency

Alex Fredkin, Managing Editor

The iPhone 5s, the Galaxy S5, the Nexus 5. Everyone has their favorite phone it seems that they just can’t get enough of. I have an iPhone, and to be honest, I love it. But at what point are we so infatuated with our phones that we miss what’s going on around us, because we find ourselves looking at a small screen instead of our surroundings?

Last week I was eating in the dining hall and saw what looked like a guy and a girl on a date. Nice enough, but just guess what they were both doing? Texting on their phones the whole time—not exactly what I have in mind as a fun time. And here’s another one that gets me. This past weekend I went out and noticed everyone texting and taking Snapchats of themselves at the bar, even people who were on the dance floor. Put your phone down and enjoy your Friday night, you can tell your friends about it the next day, and in person!

People need to enjoy the world around them. Your friends don’t need to know what you are doing every second of every day. Whether this involves taking a picture of your meal and spending five minutes deciding which Instagram filter to use while your actual meal gets cold, or tweeting that you are having such a fun time with your friends instead of, well, actually talking to them. What does this say to the people who are actually in the room with you? What’s even worse is that this mentality of constantly being on your phone is picked up by other people. I’ve found myself hanging out with my roommates or friends and I look around to see every single person doing something on their phone. So, I decide to pull out my phone as well. Sometimes it’s just easier than trying to “interrupt” someone from their screen.

It’s finally starting to get nice outside, and I see people walking around, laughing at their phones because of some hilarious text, tweet or snap, oblivious to their surroundings. Now don’t get me wrong, I text as much as the next guy. But I try to make a conscious effort to put the phone away, enjoy the weather and say hello to people. There’s been so many times when I see someone I know and go to say something, but I don’t because the person walks right by with his or her head buried in their phone.

Cell phones are useful for so many things, and overall I think they’re great. Never before have people been able to communicate with others across the globe so quickly and easily. And the ability to have the Internet at your fingertips allows limitless possibilities. But because it can do so many different things, it’s easy to want to spend all of your time on it. Call me crazy, but wouldn’t you want to enjoy the people you are actually spending time with?

The smartphone is becoming so ingrained into our daily lives that it is probably here to stay. So are we all going to become anti-social zombies, glued to our screens, texting and tweeting our way through life? Or are we going to realize that there is a time and a place for everything? If you are with friends or family, whether it is at dinner, at a bar or even sitting on the couch watching TV, I urge everyone to appreciate the moments you have with those people. If you feel that all too familiar feeling of your phone vibrating in your pocket, leave it there. Believe it or not, that person on the other end of the cell phone is not anxiously awaiting your text. They are probably texting someone else anyway. So make a change, put down the phone and say hi to someone new or an old friend. People will notice and hopefully do the same.

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