Smart phones should be used as a resource, not an iSolator
Published: Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, September 3, 2013 17:09
If you’re like me, you’re probably sick of those “back-to-school” commercials where the girls dressed in cute outfits say, “It’s important to look good the first day.” Truth is, it doesn’t matter what you look like the first day of school, because nobody will be looking at you as you walk to class. Most likely, the majority of people will have their faces buried in their smart phones.
I find that the idea of a smart phone is a flawed one, because, while it’s great to look at the Internet in case a friend needs directions or to answer a question (such as, “Who is Spider-man’s mortal enemy?”), smart phones often insulate us from the outside world.
In the late 1980s, the famed tennis writer Richard Evans said the Sony Walkman was the reason for tennis players not hanging out together anymore because it insulated them and they didn’t have to talk to one another. Today, I have the same problem with people and their smart phones. I walk down The Green around 9:30 a.m. surrounded by people who have their headphones in, looking down and texting or talking to someone on the phone loud enough so that I can hear snippets of their calls.
I’ve been guilty of this insulation too, as I’ve been caught listening to my Walkman as I bop across campus. But if I see someone I know, I like to stop the tape and have a short conversation. It’s not the worst thing in the world to interrupt my isolation. In fact, sometimes it makes my day.
One thing that really irks me is when two people are walking together or sitting in a restaurant and one is on the phone. To me, this is the epitome of rudeness. You have a perfectly good friend standing or sitting right next to you, and you choose to talk to someone on a phone? It’s kind of like you’re saying to your friend, “I like you and all, but I don’t find you that interesting.”
The end-all be-all of these smart phones is when people complain about the fact their phone does not have certain applications. Why not just get the phone with the apps you want? I mean, I would not buy a certain car if it did not have what I wanted, so why should I buy a phone if it doesn’t have features I like? I guess it’s one more thing for our generation to complain about.
I feel that when a new technology is released to the world, it does one good thing, but it comes with a ton of unintended side effects, like a new prescription drug.
I don’t mean to sound too much like an old man on his soapbox, saying, “It was better in my day.” I can appreciate the need for smart phones, but I think we should take care not to use them to close ourselves off from the world.
Meanwhile, if you see a kid bopping along with stereophonic headphones plugged into a black box attached to his waist, it’s probably me. Come over and say hello, because whatever you have to say is probably more important than the ‘80s hits I’m listening to.