When our parents bought their first mobile phones in the early aught’s, they were used exclusively for emergencies. Now we assume that our friend is having an emergency if they don’t respond to a text within fifteen minutes.
Most of us carry computers in our pockets that are more powerful than the machinery that was used to put people on the moon. Technology is changing and we’re changing with it.
Our cellphones have become extensions of ourselves. Most college students can’t go anywhere or do anything without their mobile device.
Though they enable us to have quick, reliable communication with people outside our immediate vicinity, cell phones negatively impact how we interact with those around us. Whether we’re texting, checking our Facebook or swiping on Tinder, cellphones consume our attention, even when we are engaged in a good personal conversation. It’s distracting and frustrating for a group dynamic when one or more people are so engrossed in texting that vibrating ringtones interrupt every other word.
It seems that we use cellphones as everything except as a phone. In terms of efficiency, this doesn’t make any sense. Mobile phones were created to improve our communication, but they have regressed it instead.
When we type text messages, we have to engage much of our focus. We use our eyes to watch the screen for typos, engage our thumbs to type and put our concentration on developing a succinct message.
We’re fooling ourselves if we think that we can still be present while doing all that. When the response comes, we again revert our attention away from our surroundings back to the screen in our palm. This back and forth can go on for ages. This takes time away from quality interactions with friends and family members, not to mention paying attention in class.
Why not call? It may seem old fashioned but it’s much quicker and more personal than texting. Telephones are remarkable; we have the ability to hear the voice and expression of friends that are miles away. Quality of conversation is also higher because you are completely focused on that conversation with the person on the other end the whole time.
By calling people, we can connect at a more human level without all the hassle and misunderstanding that plagues texting. We have all had those awkward experiences of someone interpreting a text message in a way that we did not intend.
We also don’t irritate the people around us by being distracted for long periods of time, like we do when we when we are texting have you ever worked on a group project with one of those people? It’s the worst. A one minute call accomplishes the work of ten minutes of texting.
My challenge to you this summer is be conscious of how often you text. If you’re doing it to make plans or flirt, consider dropping a line instead so that you can showcase your personality.
Rather than just typing little quips, make plans to get together. Face-to-face interaction time is seriously declining among our generation, in both amount and quality.
Spend that time being present with the people you love rather than letting your phone distract you with what’s far away or coming next.
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-the A&E Editors