Mill Valley News

Smartphones are negatively impacting our lives

Though our phones provide us with entertainment, they prevent us from appreciating the real world

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Smartphones are negatively impacting our lives

Gwyneth Hayes, JAG reporter/photographer

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Nearly every time I glance at my surroundings – whether I’m in the living room with my family, sitting in a car full of people, or in a classroom full of students before class starts the majority of people are staring down at their cell phones. Although I’ll admit, I’m usually one of those people. I often turn to my phone to avoid awkward situations or boredom, and I’ve acquired the unhealthy habit of constantly depending on my phone to avoid these things, as have many of my peers.

However, I’m mainly concerned with the excessive use of our cell phones when we are surrounded by people that are close to us. It bothers me when I’m spending valuable time with relatives or a close friend and they’re scrolling through social media. I’ve had a couple of friends in the past that would spend a good chunk of our time together looking at or sending Snapchats to other people. They didn’t seem to realize that messaging one person while hanging out with another is considered rude, which was very surprising to me. I think it’s partially because when people feel even somewhat bored, they depend on their phones to make them feel more entertained. Personally, I believe you should always keep off of your phone when you’re with friends or family because time with them is very valuable. You should spend that time making memories with them rather than scrolling through an app.

After realizing that just about everyone has become addicted to their phones to some extent, I’ve discovered that I would much rather grow up during a time without cell phones. I’ve heard so many stories from my parents and grandparents of the adventures they’d had growing up, and it makes me sad that my generation doesn’t have nearly as much of that due to the large amounts of time we spend on our phones. Yes, our phones provide us with entertainment and are especially useful to our daily lives, but they prevent us from enjoying the world around us. When we waste time on our phones, we’re missing out on much more significant experiences.

It seems to me that most people spend a large portion of their free time sitting at home, doing something meaningless on their phones. Unfortunately, I myself spend a good chunk of the weekends sitting on the couch, watching Netflix or playing a random game on my phone – but there are so many better things that I could be doing with that time. I’ve realized that we won’t gain any experiences from moving our thumbs across a screen. Instead, we should be getting out of the house more often, or even just taking the time to sit down and talk with our families. We can’t have a truly meaningful conversation by texting or Snapchatting someone.

I believe that everyone should make an effort to look up from their phones more often and make some real memories ‒ if you’re like me, you’re not going to want to look back on your teenage years and realize you spent half of it staring at a screen.

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