Are Cell Phones Ruining Us?

Are Cell Phones Ruining Us?

How is a technology so great hurting us?
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No one can deny that cell phones are an amazing technology, especially now in a day of smart phones, which not only allow us to communicate with each other any where that offers us cell phone service, but serve as a computer as well. It really is amazing to think about, we have an advanced computer that fits in our pockets, something people just a few decades ago probably never even thought about. But some of us will probably agree, there are also a few down sides to having such an advanced piece of technology available to us at all times. Our cell phones seem to almost overpower us a little bit, in that they distract us from the world around us. People now seem to be too encompassed in them and will ignore the others around them, but often those around them will not notice because they are encompassed in their own phones as well.

We will often use our phones to escape boredom when we are just waiting around, it’s a way to not only escape the boredom, but to look busy and not just stand awkwardly around. There really isn’t a problem with this, but there is a bit of a problem when we do this when others are around us. For instance, when you see or are at a table where everyone is on their phone ignoring everyone around them. Not only is that a little weird when you think about it, but it is also a little rude. When you do that, you are essentially telling everyone else around you that they are not interesting enough for you. While I’m not certain, I’m pretty sure that before smart phones, people wouldn’t pull out their books and begin to ignore everyone around them the way that we do with cell phones now. True, you might bring a book, or a magazine or a newspaper with you when you were in a waiting room where people were strangers, but I’m pretty sure you didn’t do this when you ate with your friends, instead you would probably do the normal thing and talk to other people.

Another problem with them, that shouldn’t exist, is that we text and drive. When you think about it, shouldn’t we not have to make laws telling people not to read something while they are driving a car, something that requires almost complete and full attention in order to not kill yourself and others. Yet we do have to tell people that, we have to actually tell people to ignore something that someone sent them for a little while so that they don’t kill somebody or even kill themselves. It’s amazing when you think about it really, we love our phones and what they have to offer so much, that we will risk our own lives and the lives of others just to read a message from somebody that probably is not even that important.

I don’t think anyone can really say that they aren’t attached to our cell phones, because we all seem to be able to catch ourselves ignoring everything around us for them. The cell phones aren’t the problems though, it’s us. We all just need to put them away every once and a while and just focus on the people and things around us.

Cover Image Credit: Apple

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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This One’s For Africa

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Read through to the end for an amazing Toto reference.

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It's now been a week since I stepped foot on the African continent for the first time in my life. I first visited Johannesburg, where my dad and I spent a day on an 'apartheid tour.'

This tour consisted of visiting Shanty Town, one of the poorest communities in South Africa. The living conditions were indeed different. They had to steal electricity through homemade wires connected to the telephone poles. They had only a few porta potties for ten families to share. They had several spickets to obtain fresh water from. There was no heating in the houses, which were made from pieces of painted aluminum.

Such inconvenient circumstances have come from years of oppression towards black people in South Africa. It was incredibly sad to know that these problems still exist and that apartheid only ended so recently.

On the other hand, the people showed very little anger. Despite their living situations, the people of Shanty Town were so kind and welcoming. Everyone we passed smiled and waved, often even saying hello or asking about our wellbeing.

It brought some serious warmth to our hearts to see their sense of community. Everyone was in it together, and no man was left behind. They created jobs and opportunities for one another. They supported each other.

The next part of the day included a tour of Nelson Mandela's old house. We then made a trip to the Apartheid Museum.

Overall, Johannesburg did not disappoint. The city contains a rich history that human beings as a whole can learn a lot from. Johannesburg is a melting pot that still contains a multitude of issues concerning racism and oppression of certain cultures.

After two days in Johannesburg, my family made our way to Madikwe game reserve, where we stayed at Jaci's Lodge.

The safari experience was absolutely incredible. Quite cold (it's winter in Africa right now), but amazing enough to make up for the shivering. We saw all my favorite animals: giraffes galore, elephants, zebras, impalas, lions, hyenas, wildebeests, rhinos, you name it. While my favorite animal will always be the giraffe, I don't think any sighting could beat when two different herds of elephants passed through a watering hole to fuel up on a drink.

Finally on June 1st, I flew to George to start my program with Africa Media in Mossel Bay. On Sunday, we went on an 'elephant walk.'

The safari was certainly cool, but that makes the elephant walk ice cold. We got to walk alongside two male elephants - one was 25, the other 18. They were so cute!! We got to stroke their skin, trunk, and tusks. They had their own little personalities and were so excited to receive treats (fruits and vegetables) at the end of the journey.

My heart couldn't be more full. Africa, you have become my favorite continent. And it sure is going to take a lot to drag me away from you.

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