Life Begins When You Let Your Phone Die

Picture this: A girl wakes up in the morning and immediately grabs her smart phone before her eyes can adjust to the rising sunlight. She opens Twitter. Scrolls. Sends out the obligatory “it’s too early…” tweet to all of her followers, as she has for the past four mornings. Scrolls. Closes Twitter. Fast forward to lunch time. She gulps down her 17 ounce bottle of sweet tea, but not before snapping a picture and letting Instagram know that it’s the #bombdotcom #sogood #fresh #yum #tea #sweettea #refreshing #instatea #instathirstquencher. The rest of her day follows this pattern: checking her phone every chance she gets – just in case something retweet-worthy happens to pop up on her timeline. She gets home and texts her pals all throughout dinner, and probably sends them a silly Snapchat of her dad chowing down on stir fry. At the end of the night, she finally snuggles back into bed. Yawns and turns out the light. Feels around for her smart phone. Opens Facebook. What’s wrong with this picture?

Living in this 2014 tech-crazy society doesn’t exactly promise the friendly and close-knit community that one may crave. Today’s generation has everything that anyone could possibly need in the palm of their hand. Most standard smart phones come equipped with handy gadgets such as a GPS, calculator, flashlight, calendar and phone book, as well as access to anything and everything the Internet has to offer (depending on the strength of the Wifi connection). Along with the obvious advantages that come with a smart phone, comes a lovesick obsession with constant documentation of one’s every breath.When social media is overused in this way, it removes the privacy and mystery from a person’s personal life. Social media and smart phones have eliminated the need for tangible human interaction and have simply replaced this contact with usernames and profile pictures.

Numerous people enjoy social media chiefly as a means of keeping in touch with old pals and updating all of their family and friends at once on exciting or groundbreaking news. This is incredible – encouraged even. However, there are plenty of other people who need to learn their limits. Mr. Griffith and Olive Penderghast from 2010 film Easy Asay it quite well: “‘I don’t know what your generation’s fascination is with documenting your every thought… but I can assure you, they’re not all diamonds.  “Roman is having an OK day, and bought a Coke Zero at the gas station. Raise the roof.”? Who cares???’ ‘He got a Coke Zero AGAIN? Ah, that Roman. Incorrigible.’” A large amount of what is posted on social media does not need to be, and is often better left kept private. While traveling though, photographs are a must. Documenting travels and important events in one’s life is essential for remembering and celebrating where his life has taken him. There is a difference between being glued to one’s phone an entire trip and taking photos to capture the beauty of the new land that is being visited.

The youth of today is already so nostalgic for the past and feel that if they don’t record each moment in their personal history books called social media, the memory will slip away entirely. However, when the pictures start to become repetitive, ordinary and unimpressive, the memories begin to follow suit and start to grow cheap and meaningless. While these people are reposting dozens more pictures of their weekly trips to the mall, they neglect the realization that the true memories are being passed up.

These same young people are the ones who have grown up listening to their parents speak of simpler times and the “good ol’ days” – the days when kids frolicked and played freely outside in the yard instead of barricading themselves inside their virtual world created by their video games, and when the most popular form of communication was genuine face-to-face conversation rather than a cheap text or even a mere detached phone call. Young people crave these natural, archaic memories of their parents, but fail to recognize how easy they would be to make themselves, if only they could live through their eyes instead of their phones.

Today’s generation has such an inability to simply enjoy what is put in front of them and instead has become infatuated with documenting their hour by hour lives. Kids are frequently posting about the ever-changing world moving around them each day, they just need to remember how to put their phones down and move with it.

Picture this world now: A girl wakes up to the sun shining in her bedroom windows. She reaches for her phone. 3% battery. Instead of desperately scrambling for her charger, she decides to go without it for the day. She makes a pot of coffee. She kisses her ma good morning. She steps outside, breathes the fresh air, and walks to her pal’s house to kick it. She knocks on the door. They walk around town talking about whatever. No phones. Just laughter. No interruptions. Just them. No distractions. Just that moment. Fast forward to that evening. She hugs her friend good-bye. Starts walking home. Notices how bright the stars are. Opens the door, and greets her mom who’s making dinner. She talks to her mom about her day and her plans for the next. She then crawls into bed and spots her phone on her night stand. It’s completely dead. She wonders what she missed. Probably not much. She contemplates plugging it in. Decides against it.

The Crusader Raid, Vol. 6, Num. 4.
The Spring/Summer Issue
May 2014

Written by Samantha Lindenbusch

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