I remember telling my mom I wouldn’t text much around the time that I got my first phone. I really thought that would be true.
It’s not. I’m on my phone frequently, checking texts and entertaining myself when I have a spare moment. It’s not necessarily a bad thing; where else would I go when I have a mental breakdown at night? Texting with my best friend brings me back from a crisis. She always encourages me to keep moving forward and with her help, I can. I wouldn’t be able to get or give that support without the increased connection our phones give us.
However, being on our phones all the time isn’t good for us. It’s important to actually interact with people and grow our social skills; studies show that using our phones for conversation actually decreases our ability to empathize with each other, as empathy relies on reading things like body language and tone of voice. And though playing games on your phone is fun, some of the time we spend on them could be better spent doing homework, reading or talking to people. Additionally, it can be very distracting if people pull out their phones during class. In my personal fitness class, they’ve been banned because people can’t use them at the correct times and stay on task.
But phones aren’t necessarily bad. I don’t know what I would’ve done if I hadn’t had my phone as a communication device at the beginning of the pandemic, when we were all stuck inside. Even now, that’s still important. The pandemic’s not over yet, and over half of my friend group goes to Pioneer full-time, so I don’t see them during the day. Were it not for my phone, I would be almost completely out of contact with them.
In addition to that, I use my phone in school every day to scan QR codes for contact tracing, as well as a recording device and camera for journalism. My phone is also a way to contact my parents if I ever need to. And though I could do some of this stuff with my computer, it’d be really hard to find a different way to do all of it. At this point, it’s hard to exist in the world without owning a phone of some sort.
Phones have become deeply entwined with our lives, and I’m not sure if I’d be able to fully separate from mine, if I even wanted to. And I wouldn’t say this is entirely a good thing. Taking more and longer breaks from being on our devices would be beneficial.
Phones are only good to a certain extent, and we need to be conscious of that.