It’s Okay to Put Your Phone Down
People would rather be on their phones than engage with other people
I’m sitting in a coffee shop right now that overlooks a busy four-way stop at an intersection. I keep seeing people drive by, and as they roll to a stop, they look down at their phones, only to let off the brake and continue on their merry way, sometimes with their phone still in hand.
All I can think is, “Why, for crying out loud, is it so necessary to check your phone for two seconds?!” But then I remember that this is not the only situation where this behavior occurs, and smartphone addiction isn’t exactly a recent development. I recently wrote about deactivating my Facebook account because of how it interfered with my daily life, but I think the issue goes even further than that.
I see this problem every day with my students in the classroom. If you haven’t been around a school lately, I’ll paint you a picture: droves of teenagers walking down a hallway, most with their earbuds in while looking down at their phones. I take delight in stepping in front of them just so they can awkwardly bump into me because they aren’t paying the least bit of attention. “You shouldn’t text and walk,” I tell them half-laughing, half-serious, but they can’t hear me. Even worse, I see some students in the classroom who have a compulsive connection to their phones. I’ve had to take phones away simply because some students genuinely can’t seem to put them down.
Adults are no better. I look around during after-school meetings and at least half of my colleagues are on their phones, completely ignoring the presenter. I too have been guilty of this. I used to jump from app to app to check the latest updates and scroll mindlessly through my feeds, looking for something more “entertaining” than the real world. But was anything I was doing necessary? Definitely not.
“Smartphone users spend an average of 140 minutes on their phones each day.”
And of course we’re all too familiar by now with the modern hangout or dinnertime scene: a bunch of friends or family members in the same room all looking at their phones. Even more sad than these scenarios, however, is what I saw on TV two weeks ago. It was a news…