At the risk of sounding like a cranky old person, I have had this blog topic on my mind for quite some time. Look around you in any public space and count how many people are captivated by their phones in that moment. It’s probably a striking majority. Cell phones are quickly becoming an essential in order to function in our society, but can they also lead to dis-function?
I’m certainly not writing to bash their convenience, their capabilities, or tell you not to use one. I love what my phone allows me to do. I just wish people would take more time to look up.
What did we do in awkward situations before we could fake-text and be fake-occupied? Did more people take the stairs? I am rather guilty of this cell phone reliance myself, and it’s a habit I’ve been trying to kick. But as I suspected, I am not alone. The average person checks his or her phone a staggering 110 times a day.
So what can we do to reverse our dependence? Well, for starters, just put the phone down. The old out-of-sight, out-of-mind trick usually works for me (thank you, bad memory). But if you can’t seem to exercise that self control, there are apps out there to help keep you focused. Cue the ironic eye roll…
My main concern, however, is not about productivity. It’s about that old tradition of being polite. Make eye contact and smile at some strangers on the sidewalk once in a while. Put your phone down for every meal. Start a conversation in the elevator. There are so many small interactions we lose out on each day by being on our phones, I think it’s time to take a conscious step back. Smartphones and their technology are here to stay, but we should be fitting them into our lives, not fitting our lives into them.