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September 2, 2016
By Rachel Chung, Vernon Hills
Recently, my phone became water damaged due to my stupidity and recklessness. While I immediately tried to save my phone by dumping it in a container of rice, I had to go almost entirely without my phone for about four days. It was incredibly difficult; I would even try to check up on my texts and snapchats, but this probably only ruined my phone more. This experience taught me five things about myself (and about other millennials):
1) I am actually quite attached to my phone. I found myself thinking “I can’t live without my phone,” and how ridiculous is that? You really don’t realize how much you depend on your phone until you don’t have it. From little things like wanting to look something up to wanting to text my friends, it was difficult to realize that I didn’t have all of that at my fingertips.This heightened my sense of desperation for the return of my phone and made me realize my overdependence on it.
2) Communication is really based on our technology. I wonder how I ever communicated with people without my phone. Without texts, calls or social media, I couldn’t tell anyone anything. I actually started emailing my friend, so I could tell her what happened and update her on a bit of my life. This is why I risked turning on my phone to quickly text my few friends and tell them why I have been so MIA.
3) I was willing to risk breaking my phone just to tell one of my friends to take over my Snapchat streaks. Oh my God. I don’t even know where to start with this. I looked up how to recover your phone from water damage, and the most common advice was that you should not turn on your phone for at least 48 hours. It seems like simple advice, and it really should’ve been. However, you can imagine my horror when I thought of all my Snapchat streaks and how many I would have lost. Oh, the woes of Snapchat.
4) I felt a lot more anxiety when I didn’t have my phone. I couldn’t text people when I arrived at a destination to ask them where they were, and I couldn’t update my mom on when she should pick me up. I couldn’t even look through my phone to distract myself. I would usually use my phone whenever I felt awkward or wasn’t with someone at that moment. Without my phone, I was just left standing alone, waiting. My phone gave me a sense of security, and without it, I felt awkward and worried.
5) Checking our phones has become second nature to us. During the last few weeks of summer, I had to go to school to participate as a freshman orientation guide. I was sitting in an auditorium with loads of people all around me checking their phone, Snapchatting their friends, texting, on Instagram, browsing through Facebook, checking their emails, etc. I would look to the right, to the left, in front of me, and behind me, and everyone was on their phones. I actually brought a book with me so that if I had to wait for a long time, I would have something to do. I couldn’t even remember the last time I brought a book somewhere with me to read.
Overall, this digital detox has shed light on how obsessively dependent I have become on my phone. It felt so extremely weird not having it in my hands and checking it 24/7. I can’t lie and say that this drastically changed my view on technology; in fact, I still depend on my phone quite a bit. However, I realize the importance of setting aside my phone and just talking to people. I actually still continue to email my friend because we find it more interesting and an easier way to communicate during school. While technology is allowing our society to make amazing advancements, it’s important to know when to power down and be present in the real world.
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