STORY BY EMILY VANSCHMUS
Older generations are always harping on us to get off our phones and join the real world. They accuse us of not knowing how to connect with others in person because all we do is interact online or via smartphone.
As a self proclaimed Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter addict, I generally reply to these accusations with a hearty eye roll and then get back to whatever urgent message has popped up on my screen. I have always denied that our generation has a problem, especially since coming to college — sending a Snapchat or a text to a friend from home makes it much easier to communicate than if we had to send snail mail back-and-forth.
I’ve seen constant contact and connection as strictly a positive thing. Until a few weeks ago.
Halloweekend got the better of my iPhone, and with the way my plan and upgrade are set, I could either buy a new phone or wait just a few weeks.
Part of my addict’s mind seriously considered forking over the cash just to maintain my habits, but, in the end I survived for a whole two weeks with no phone.
The first day was absolute agony. I lost count of the number of times I reached for my phone to take a Snapchat, send a text or get on Twitter simply because I had 28 seconds to spare, and why should I have to be bored for half a minute if I can entertain myself by reading a few tweets?
By the third or fourth day I was getting used to not having my phone in my hand every second of the day, but I was green with envy at the people around me happily Snapchatting away and reading new GroupMe notifications.
These symptoms were most likely just withdrawal from what I now realize was (and in all honesty, still is) an extreme addiction.
I began to notice things in my life I had been missing before, just because the latest Yik Yak was too interesting or because picking an Instagram filter really can take 20 minutes, and yes there is a “right” filter for every photo, thank you very much.
As the second week began, I started noticing myself engaging in more basic human contact.
I smiled at my peers on the way to class instead of staring at my phone, and when my friend went to the restroom at a party, I introduced myself to someone I didn’t know instead of scrolling through the latest newsfeed while I waited.
As I anxiously await the arrival of my new phone, I am both excited to have Instagram filters to choose from again, but nervous that I will stop being annoyed that everyone at the dinner table is on their phones, because I will be too.
Our generation has certainly benefited from new technologies in hundreds of ways, but I fear we may also be losing more than we realize in the process.