We drive to school – our phones are on our laps or in the cup holder. We walk to class with our phones in our hands and our heads are down, hoping a car sees us first. When we finally arrive in class, our phones are on the desk in front of us. Even while speaking to friends, family, and professors, we can’t resist the urge to see if anyone has messaged us back yet. On the way home, we have a panic attack if we can’t find our phone where we left it. Then we do it all again the next day.
The security that our generation has found in a 5-inch screen is undeniable. Faster than the tap of a screen, that security is growing to an obsession — even worse — an addiction.
According to a study from Baylor University, students spend an average of “8-10 hours per day looking at the screen of their cell phones.” When approached with these statistics, a GPC student from the Dunwoody Campus, Sana Saeed, said that she honestly feels like she spends “around half the day” on her phone.
Herguen Pleitez, another Dunwoody GPC student , said that he could probably go approximately five-six hours without his phone, but then would have to check it just in case of emergencies.
Spending a third of our day devoted to our cell phones seems unrealistic, but it is not too far-fetched. We are living in a society that is essentially defined by its limitless access to information that has shown to hurt us just as much as it has helped us.
The access to virtually any information imaginable is literally at our fingertips. The problem with this is that ramifications are making themselves known through our declining communication skills, attention span, and our relationships.
College students are lucky enough to have this first-hand view at the way technology is being updated constantly. This generation alone has seen at least five generations of iPhones, a plethora of new computers and tablets, alongside countless apps and websites that are regenerated every day.
This overwhelming amount of new information has greatly affected attention spans. “I have noticed that a lot of people my age have short attention spans because they will listen to you for less than a minute and usually take out their cell phone just to browse around, all because they cannot concentrate on a simple conversation” said Lorena Guillen, Dunwoody GPC Campus.
Not only are attention spans lessening, but they’ve become increasingly reliant on functions such as “spell check” and “calculator” that older generations didn’t have the privilege to access. The immediacy is great, but the long-term results may not be as favorable.
If you were to look up from reading this article right now, I’m nearly positive that you would see someone else in the same room as you, who is on his or her phone. Though we do find ourselves spending a significant amount of time on our phones, we have also seen the way that technology can benefit us in our everyday lives.
Communicating with friends, family, and potential employers has never been as easy. Networking possibilities are flourishing and there are jobs being created everyday due to the maintenance and updates that our precious technology requires. Phones and technology have become an extension to every one of us. We personalize it in a way that we feel is most necessary to our lives.
However, it is with information that responsibility must come. “I feel like it is safe to say that we have not really found a way to harness that responsibility and control it in a reasonable way,” said a professor at GPC Dunwoody. “There’s no way of telling what is to come, but if we continue in this direction, it won’t be anything good.”
Guillen made the remark that we, as a community, need to “actually look around and smell the roses” before we end up too reliant and lazy because of technology. We must also work on reminding ourselves to find time to put the phones down, have a face-to-face conversation where no one touches their phones, read a book, or to even really go smell the roses.
If we all are to put in a conscious effort to try to reduce the amount of time we spend staring into our phones, even slightly, then we may see a significant rise away from the amount of reliance and obsession we have generated towards our phones.
As a challenge today, try to be on your phone as little as possible. Maybe you will notice something that has been there all along that you have never paid attention to.