A few months ago, I did something so mind blowing, so unthinkable, so unimaginable, the world almost ended.
It was as mind blowing as Armin van Buuren dropping the Game of Thrones theme song at an electronic show. It was as unthinkable as your Tinder date dropping the “I’m married” line at your first outing. It was as unimaginable as a soccer performance coach writing on cell phones like she’s a life coach or some shit. Wait…
Anyway, you’re probably wondering what I did. Here you are:
I deleted my SnapChat.
Okay, maybe I’m being dramatic, but for a Millenial like me, deleting SnapChat was a bold move. At first, I panicked as I tapped on the app for the “x” symbol to appear. Before pressing the “x” for a full-blown delete, a plethora of thoughts swirled through my head:
‘Am I making a fatal mistake?’
‘How was I going to keep up with the world?’
‘How was I going to show my awesome life to people anymore?’
‘Will I miss people sending me selfie videos of them singing in the car?’
The last question alone was enough for me to follow through on my word and delete that shit.
Alas, I’d go even further. Not only was it a lot for me to keep up with, but the stuff people sent me was either 1) selfies 2) food pictures 3) extensive conversations via SnapChat messenger that disappeared with the bat of an eyelash and no one knew what the fuck they were even talking about, or 4) flirty shenanigans that proved terrible for establishing any real connections.
Adding on, in the midst of work and keeping up with emails, texts, family and friends, SnapChat became a burden on top of all this. It was stressful. Impersonal. Annoying.
What’s crazy is, my beef toward SnapChat is just glossing over the tip of the iceberg. For a woman who runs her entire business on her mobile device, I sure have a hatred toward cell phones.
Alright, alright. Before I get all pessimistic on the current state of technology, let’s applaud the benefits of cell phones first:
– You can FaceTime your aunt in Europe.
– You can What’s App your husband who is stationed in the Middle East.
– You can capture beautiful moments with your camera.
– You can hop on Google Maps if you’re lost in the middle of Amsterdam.
– You can pay an Uber to drive you home from a party, instead of you doing it drunk.
– You can be a no-name music producer who blows up on SoundCloud overnight.
– You can document your baby pictures and their childhood memories.
– You can run your business on a 5-inch screen that fits in your joggers.
– You can connect with like-minded people and find your tribe.
Clap it up for the cell phone and its services to humanity. Admittedly, I’m all for giving credit where it’s due, and praising how much technology has contributed to our lives.
But just like anything good in life, there’s a dark side. While this may seem like an article that’s crapping on cell phones, it’s not. Instead, it’s a piece showcasing the things we need to keep in check when it comes to these glowing, little screens. So if there’s anything you get from this, it’s self reflection and awareness.
Let’s dive in:
1. Cell phones ruin relationships.
Nothing is worse than going to a restaurant only to see every couple sitting across from one another staring into…their own cell phones. True intimacy, you know, the staring into someone’s eyes, diving deep into conversation, and talking about the Cosmos kind of intimacy is rare nowadays. Ever wonder what the fuck a guy is looking at on his phone as his beautiful girlfriend sits across the table? Yeah, me too.
Or, not even in intimate relationships, but within families. Ever wonder what the dad is scrolling through as he takes his kids to the playground? Or why a mom is making a work call during a soccer game? I’m not a parent, but man, you won’t get those days of childhood back.
Expounding further, are people so insecure with themselves, their relationship with their partner, their ability to be vulnerable and talk, their inability to focus on one thing at once, their ignorance to the present moment, they can’t sit and enjoy the world with their loved ones ? Ugh, maybe I’m an old soul, but true connection is dying. And it scares me.
2. Ruins sense of self.
Not only do cell phones ruin our relationship with others, but they destroy our relationship with ourselves. This is something that takes deep self reflection, as most of us are too unconscious and asleep to realize this is happening.
Ever pondered why you send so many selfies? Ever thought why you post a 400-second long Snap story while on vacation? Ever thought why you have to whip your phone out as you wait in line at Starbucks? Ever thought why you do 100 takes to get the perfect photo? Ever thought why you mass Snap all your chick friends the same shirtless selfie? Ever thought why you have to respond to every work email in 1.5 seconds? Ever thought why you have to scroll through Instagram mindlessly two hours before bed?
Think about it. Deeply. And don’t just say, “well, I’m bored and need to pass the time.”
Fuck outta here.
Dive deep, I urge you.
Cell phones have a sneaky way of stroking our egos and making us feel more important, more busy, more productive, more liked, more noticed, more justified by others.
So I have a solution for you: marvel in the world around you for once. Sit with yourself. And think deeply about who you are.
3.) Ruins physical activity.
People aren’t as active as they once were, especially the younger generation. As an example, I dare you to check how much time your kids spend on Instagram. A recent study showed that kids spend on average 50 minutes day. What amazes me is in this amount of time, they could’ve gone outdoors, played tag with their friends, or climbed trees.
Alright. I don’t want to poo-poo on the younger generation, I’m looking at you as well, adults. Yes, you entitled adults who have their phones out just as much, are guilty too. Personally, I’ve had to catch myself spending too much time on Instagram on numerous occasions. Recently, I’ve limited it to business stuff, such as posting blog photos, hippie quotes, and tutorial videos:
Physical activity is down. And yes, I blame the phone, especially if you’re doing mindless things on it instead of moving around.
I’d be remiss not to mention that if you’re a Pokemon Go fan, that’s a great start. I think the phone has some creative ways to get people moving, and I’d argue that heart rate, Tabata conditioning, TRX work-out, and online fitness apps do an excellent job of inspiring people to move more, namely, showing them a diverse palette of work-outs so they know how to train well.
But overall, technology is alluring kids into the Fortnite and sedentary, video game culture, slowly but surely. It’s happening, and people aren’t noticing.
So before I step off the podium and exit stage right here, let me ask you these questions: are you using your phone, or are you letting it use you? How is it serving your life? How is it not serving your life?
Look. I’m not a perfect angel when it comes to my phone either. This has been a long, tumultuous journey of self reflection, ‘oh shit’ moments, and nasty ego realizations. Even though self reflection is a stale pill to swallow, it’s necessary for your growth.
Moreover, self reflection is necessary to see yourself more clearly. Instead of through a glass screen.