• Patti Raspolich

The world around you versus the world in front of you

As technology use progresses, the connection to everyday life and the world around us declines. Many people have lost track of the beautiful, interactive world that we live in, in favor of a handheld device that we see the world through. Our culture is constantly struggling with the balance of living life and documenting life, and as technology develops, it seems many people are choosing the latter.

Photo courtesy of mirror.co.uk

Since the release of second-generation mobile phones in the 1990s, our culture has become more and more obsessed with the use of mobile devices and smart phones. Today the mobile phone is considered a necessity, with 64% of adults and 85% of young adults (18-29) owning smart phones, according to Pew Research Center.

As Americans, we have become so infatuated with our phones that we now view them as an extension of ourselves and check them routinely throughout the day, as if it was as essential as breathing. Smart phones have become a universal, undeniable part of American culture. While many uses of the mobile device are practical, such as online banking or finding information about a health condition, and even necessary in the case of an emergency, the daily fixation has gotten out of hand. Research done by a group of students from Alabama State University tells us that out of the 370 students surveyed, 88% feel safer with their cell phone near them and 68% said they feel disconnected when they do not have their phone, proving that there is a growing dependency for the use of cell phones.

Our culture has been conditioned to conduct our daily lives through a tiny screen on a mobile device. Communication, entertainment, and information are all features that allow for smart phone dependency. As technology develops, living your every day life becomes devalued. Children would rather play on their smart phone then go outside and adults are often seen looking down at a handheld screen instead of interacting face-to-face with other individuals.

As a young adult who grew up in the era of mobile phones and smart phones, I can attest to the growing dependency that has flourished in the past ten years. I did not own a smart phone until 2015 and I have noticed myself staring at my phone incessantly, instead of doing something that is of real value. This generation has become so accustomed to smart phones and their abilities that we literally give more attention to a handheld device than what is happening in the present moment.

So, while we continue to go about our daily lives, scrolling through news feed after news feed, with our heads looking down, we might just miss the world that is evolving in front of us. It is important to remember that while sometimes we may need our smart phones, there is so much more to life than constantly viewing and checking our phones. Our greatest moments do not happen with a phone in our hand, but when we put down the phone and truly experienced this beautiful thing called life.

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