Since I got my MyTouch Droid in December I have gradually become more and more reliant on it. This is has been a huge transition for me. You see I didn’t get a cell phone until I was a freshman in college. Up until that point it seemed as though I got by just fine; I just had to be sure I was where I said I was going to be when I said I was going to be there. I didn’t need cell access for my daily life, but eventually decided to get one because using calling cards to call home from Pullman become too expensive.

Now, here I am, 7 years later and I can’t imagine leaving home without my cell. What happened to me? What has happened to society? The cell phone has changed life as we know it, and smart phone technology is only adding to our mobile dependence. We used to think that speaking on the phone in public was rude, texting at dinner was unheard of and checking email while at the beach was absolutely insane. Now these activities go unnoticed. They may be rude, but as a whole, it seems we don’t really care.

So here I am left wondering, is our dependence a good thing? While I can’t deny that I appreciate the great functionalities of my smart phone, I have to admit it has made me lazy, and detached in times when I should have been fully engaged with interpersonal interaction.

My cell phone has amplified my laziness in many ways. For example, I used to stress about being late, so I was always sure to be on time, if not early to meetings, events, class, etc. Now it’s too easy to utilize applications like Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and even SMS texting to let people know I will be late, so I tend not to worry about it as much- which in turn makes me late more often. I also don’t bother remembering things like addresses, phone numbers and emails because my phone remembers them for me.

Additionally, I don’t plan ahead. I know that I have navigation and google access on my phone so I wont even look up the places I’m going until I’m in the car. I can also post assignments to WordPress on the fly and email clients as I’m running out the door. In a way, my smart phone has fueled my procrastination.

When it comes to social situations smart phones cause detachment in many ways. I can barely remember the last time I hung out with friends without worrying about what pictures will end up online. Most of the time I feel like I’m watching them spend more time on their mobile Facebook profiles posting information about what we’re doing than actually engaging in it. Not to mention the distractions of internet searches, texts and email checking we are all guilty of completing in social scenarios.

I recently went on a family camping trip to Hood Canal, and did not have cell service. At first it was unnerving, but soon became soothing. No internet access, Facebook updates, or obligations to answer emails, texts, or phone calls; just time with my family. In my opinion, while smart phone technology has provided us with a type of independence that was unmatched before now, it has definitely hindered our personal live interactions.

I’m not going to lie, I love my smart phone (with the exception of T-Mobile’s dropped calls and poor internet coverage). But I sometimes wonder about what I would do if it were taken away permanently. I swear every time it dies I have a mini panic attack. What would I do if I were permanently unplugged? Would I be a happier, more engaged friend, daughter, and sister? Or would I be late everywhere and lose everything I know and share with my contacts? I’m not ready to give up my cell phone, but I definitely believe there is a balance that is yet to be found between our digital lives and our face to face personal lives.

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Comments
  1. You’re a candidate for Scott’s Unplugged Sundays project. 🙂

    Seriously, Danielle, you raise important issues about how we integrate technology into our lives. I argue that technology lets us be whomever we want to be — warts and all. In a negative sense, that can make it an “enabler” — but the fact is that if there were downsides to our being late for meetings and the like, we’d not be late. (That’s the economist side of my brain typing, ya know.)

  2. […] posts: Corey, Danielle, Derek, Nicole, […]

  3. Thank you Kathy, I don’t know much about Scott’s Unplugged Sundays project (although it sounds self explanatory). Being so integrated with technology all the time I am trying to step back more and realize the negative implications it can have as well as the positive. Technology is great, but must be utilized in moderation.

  4. Jenny says:

    I agree, you’ve pointed out some key issues here. Being a teen, I identified with the point about worrying what photos of me would end up online. The whole prospect of it makes me uncomfortable, by how easily a person’s personal life can suddenly become everyone’s business due to some twat deciding to take photos or film you. There is no longer that sense of security and I for one don’t like it, it does more damage to society than good if you ask me.
    Also I realize that this article is old but I couldn’t help myself xD

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