My Eyes are Up Here (Yours Should be Too)!

It’s a beautiful day outside. I’m walking to class, enjoying the weather, and everyone around me is shuffling by, hunched over the phone in their hand. Sound familiar? That’s because our attachment to our smartphones has become overwhelming.

by Heather Bartel

Now don’t get me wrong, smartphones are great. I’m a huge fan of mine. A calendar, alarm clock, weather report, camera, iPod and mode of communication all in one sleek, pocket-sized device? Don’t mind if I do. Having a phone with that many attributes is incredibly convenient. I get it, but when it comes to smartphones, I feel that far too many people have become attached.

During an average day on campus, I see an enormous number of people walking around with their eyes glued to their phones. I’ve even seen several brave souls crossing the street with their eyes pointed down at the screen in front of them. This seems ridiculous to me. Not only does it slow everyone down, but it’s also a miracle that we don’t have students or faculty running into trees, poles or other people on a daily basis.

This, unfortunately, is not the only time that smartphones turn into a distraction. It’s so difficult to try to spend quality time with someone when their phone is a constant fixture in their hand. I certainly feel as though it’s more important to talk to the person I’m with than to spend the entire time texting someone else. Now, I’m definitely guilty of pulling out my phone during a dull moment or occasionally responding to a text while in the company of other people, but I make a conscious effort not to. I like to be fully present in the world and keep my phone out of my conversations. It’s so much easier to communicate with someone who is focusing completely on you, not you and a phone.

Ultimately, the need to be on our smartphones has become problematic. I like to rid myself of mine for at least part of the day, and it’s actually fantastic to not always be so connected. Try to meet someone for a chat instead of texting from opposite ends of campus. Your phone is smart and you should be too. Just be present in the world and with the people in it, because those apps can wait.

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