Summer time in Florida means a lot of free time. The rain is unexpected, unpredictable, but at the same time, very predictable. 3:00 pm, the joke I used to make with friends. The rain will fall at 3:00 pm. That meant don’t stay at the beach too long, preferably do nothing in the summer afternoons when the sky delivers humidity and rain along with the heat. Sit inside the house, whether you’re alone or with friends, and go on your phone.
I go on my phone during the summer the most, which I regret, but it is not just limited to that season. Go on your phone while it rains. Go on your phone when you wake up and contemplate getting out of bed, go on your phone while you sip the morning coffee and scarf down a bagel, go on your phone between conversations. Set the phone down to go to the bathroom, come back and tap the screen to check the missed notifications from the thirty seconds you were gone.
Tap the screen.
Tap the screen before picking up the phone when you wake up in the morning, tap the screen while it sits next to your laptop, tap the screen while your phone sits in your lap at the dinner table. You get the idea, tapping the phone screen brings a sense of fulfillment and reassurance that you are not missing out on anything on social media.
It really is not a problem to tap the screen of my phone, especially if it is the alternative to me actually logging in and checking each individual app. Well, it really was not a problem until I started tapping the journal on my desk, or the makeup palette next to my sink in the bathroom, thinking it was my phone screen and embarrassing my self when realizing what I’d just done.
When I started tapping random objects around me by default, thinking it was my phone, I realized something needed to change. Obviously I go on my phone and rely on it too much. I started thinking deep about technology and the mobility they provide, and what a shame all of it really is. The amount of time over those high school summers and nights I spent just staring at my phone screen watching other people live their lives quite literally consumed me.
And I'll never get those days back. I’m in college now, which I do consider the actual peak of young hood, but just thinking back on the extra little times I could have been playing with my dogs, hanging out with my siblings, conversing with my parents, going out to eat with friends... all while I lai
d in my room staring at my phone screen.
It’s like a domino effect. I got a phone in middle school, adapted and created accounts on different social medias, became friends with kids over the internet, and began obsessing over what everyone else was doing, making sure I was never a step behind. But what I realized was going on my phone for hours at a time, and constantly tapping the screen to see if anyone new snapchatted me, was actually making me only move backwards.
It moved me backwards with my real life relationships, and my mental health. All throughout high school it was always “what are they doing tonight” or “what is she wearing” or “how many likes did he get on that post?”
Maybe in a future post I'll go into more detail about what exactly I did to become less reliant on the phone screen for my sanity, but today I'm just here to remind myself and you that it is not worth it. Phones are an addiction, like a drug, whether that sounds dramatic or not. Thank goodness I never tapped a random object by default in person, someone probably would have thought me to be a crazy person.
But I've stopped going on my phone as often. I unfollowed people that did not benefit me mentally, and I picked up old hobbies like reading and writing that I started to slack on do to my phone. I keep my phone on silent and out of sight when doing homework or hanging out with friends and family. Basic habits like these have helped me much farther than the extent of just “not going on my phone”. I observe people and things around me much more, I’m more attentive to details in conversation, I remember things that happen so much more explicitly because I do not whip out my phone to always record the moment.
So there you have it, how tapping random objects thinking it was my phone screen opened up my eyes and changed my perspective on phones, for good.