My morning routine: Wake up. Open my eyes. Blindly reach for my glasses. Knock everything off my bedside table in the process. Grab my phone. Check my texts. Check my Snapchat. Check my Facebook. Check my Instagram. Check my texts again. Stand up. Stumble tiredly to the bathroom. Look in the mirror. Brush my teeth. Check my phone. Take a shower. Get dressed. Check my phone.
In the span of the half an hour that I have been awake, I’ve already checked my phone at least ten times. Let’s face it – I am addicted to my cell phone, like many others are. It’s my lifeline, my connection to the outside world, and part of me as much as any of my limbs are.
My phone is also my lifesaver. It keeps me from having to interact with people face-to-face during awkward situations. “People prefer using their phones over face-to-face interaction, because in face-to-face interactions, they experience more punishment – social anxiety or negative encounters with someone,” said Dr.Russell Phillips, a professor of Psychology at Pitt-Greensburg.
I know I can relate to what Dr.Phillips said. It’s easier to ignore the awkwardness that comes with social interaction when you can just stay on your phone and ignore everyone around you.
But that’s the problem – you can miss so much in life if you’re constantly on your phone. You miss out on making new friends, having an interesting conversation, or learning something new.
That’s why I decided to go a day without using my cell phone. I wanted to know what it’s like to be totally cut off for an entire day.
What’s the worst that could happen?
I wake up, and my first instinct is to reach for my phone. Halfway into unlocking it, I remember that I’m not supposed to be looking at it, so I shove it back under my pillow. “You can do this,” I tell myself. I will myself to get out of bed and get ready. It’s going to be a long day.
I manage to make it to class without any major malfunctions. I’m ten minutes early, like I always try to be, and my fingers itch to grab my phone and check all my social media accounts, while I wait for class to start. Instead, I force myself to make awkward small talk with the girl sitting next to me. It’s not as unpleasant as I thought it would be, but I’m sure that I’d feel calmer if I could get on my phone.
I’m starving, so I decide to head over to the dining hall for lunch. I’m not even sure if any of my friends are there, so I cautiously make my way in. I pay, grab my food, and search desperately for one familiar face. It’s stupid to think that everyone is staring at me, because no one actually cares. I quickly find an empty table and sit down.
The tiny, insecure freshman that I am, I instantly feel ridiculous sitting by myself. In a moment of pure panic, I pull out my phone and open up the Messenger app. Not even thinking twice about it, I text my roommates and ask them if they’re coming to lunch.
Then I freeze.
I failed what I set out to do in a matter of three hours. In this day and age, it’s almost impossible for me to go a few hours without using my phone.
That doesn’t necessarily mean using cell phones is a bad thing.
In fact, I believe that using cell phones and other electronic devices is an important part of life. There’s no possible way to be as connected as we are now with everyone around the world without cell phones.
So, the next time you think about giving someone grief for always using their cell phone, just think about how connected to the world they are right now. Think about all the things they can do with that tiny device in their hands. It really is amazing.