When they were younger, my grandparents would stay up for hours playing cards with their friends. They would sit, eat, and talk all night long. I remember seeing pictures of camping trips, fishing, mustaches, and short shorts (on the guys). They would say, “Those were the good ole’ days.”
From time to time, I imagine what it would have been like to live in the 70s – no internet, fewer TV channels, corded phones hanging on the wall, bell bottoms, Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones… simplicity.
Today, there are a lot of really good things about living in 2017, but one thing I think is affecting us in a negative fashion is our cellphones.
This summer, I volunteered as a counselor for a youth camp for a week. During this week, I didn’t have my phone. On the last day, the kids left, and as I was getting ready to leave, I had a dull moment and went to pull my phone out, forgetting I didn’t have it.
In that moment, I realized how reliant I am on my phone. When we are alone or there’s an awkward moment, we go right to our phones. There are so many people I haven’t met because I’m walking across campus with my nose in my phone; so many moments I miss because I’m scrolling through social media or checking my email.
Realizing this makes me envy how simplified times were for my grandparents
In 2010, Trent Mitchell, a teacher from Shorecrest High School in Shoreline, Washington, challenged his students to go without their phones for a week. The students discussed how they are consumed with Twitter and Facebook and don’t have time for anything else. Some students even admitted that they were addicted to social media and their phones. By the end of the week, one student said, “I’m starting to like the social experiment. It’s good to talk to people.”
According to Pew Research Center, 90 percent of adults use social media today; in 2005, it was only 12 percent. Research from GSMA Intelligence found that there are more gadgets in the world than there are people! With so much technology and social media at our finger tips, it would be hard not to be consumed by our phones.
When I went a week without my phone I felt a sense of freedom. It was liberating to know that no one had the ability to demand my attention at all times; that I could enjoy the moments happening before me instead of being distracted with what was happening everywhere but where I was. I wonder what the effect would be on our campus if we put our phones down more. What would happen if we talked to the person we were walking next to or passing in the hall?