I refer to my phone as my nightmare rectangle, and I hate it.
Not because it doesn't work or because it's not the latest model (though both of those are true...), but because of the sheer power it has over my life and the lives of those around me. Despite my feelings on my smart phone, I still can't seem to ditch it for good. I use it to communicate with loved ones, to take pictures of moments I want to keep close, to keep track of my to-do lists and to pass time when waiting for class or appointments. Yet every time I use it, I find myself growing more anxious about my usage. In fact, I love times when I can leave it at home and go into places that don't even have cell phone service. I love cutting the chain that cell phones have created - being constantly available is exhausting.
Recent polls and studies have found that most people my age are feeling the same way and find themselves dangerously attached to their devices. We see it everywhere - people walking across campus, eyes on their screen the whole walk. It has become our newspaper - our way of hiding from the world, a symbol that we don't want to be bothered. And it's a convenient means of avoiding interactions. We can stream music, movies, games and social media to distract ourselves from the world around us.
So how can we escape this detrimental habit?
For me, one way that I was able to really step back from my phone was deleting social media apps off my phone or disabling them certain days of the week or times of day. Deleting them was a great way to get out of the habit of gluing myself to my phone, then I slowly worked up to disabling them on weekdays and during the day.
Another way to block the drain of our nightmare rectangles is to turn the data off. By relying on Wi-Fi, we are able to limit our usage to home and work or school rather than, you know, everywhere. Even turning off all internet connectivity when away from home is great. By eliminating the chances of getting a snap during class or an Insta DM at work, you decrease the chance of mindlessly scrolling through your notifications.
I also try to leave my phone in my backpack as much as I can during the day. It's in a pocket where if I "need" it (I use "need" very sparingly as I don't know that I've ever truly needed my phone, besides to text my mom back) I can grab it, but it's not a weight in my pocket all day.
Are smartphones great? Of course, they are. We can share photos and stories, we can stay in contact with loved ones, we can see pictures of dogs literally any time we want to. But they also hold way too much power over us anymore - it's basically expected of us to have one. I would be a hypocrite if I said I didn't want my phone - I use it to listen to music while I work out and to take photos and to stay in touch with my family and loved ones - but I wish it wasn't so prevalent in our lives. Could we just go back to the days where we carried a flip phone and an iPod touch at the same time?