Op-Ed:The Phone Game

BY LEXI JOHNSON ’18

I remember it as clear as yesterday. After graduating from high school, I waited all summer to see my best friend but she couldn’t take her eyes off her phone. When I asked her to put her phone away, she couldn’t go two minutes without checking it. I still don’t understand what drives a person to be more involved with their social media than their friends or family.

Social media has become a growing issue among millennials because we rely so heavily on technology and social media. According to American Press Institute, 75 percent of millennials have some type of social media account which, for me, is quite an alarming statistic. Some would argue that 75 percent is a good thing because Facebook and other forms of social media actually helps families and friends stay connected. But are you really connected when all you are doing is hitting the like button? No, you’re not.

That form of interaction is not an interaction at all—it’s just Facebooking.

When interacting with family and friends over Facebook there is no human-to-human contact. A screen is getting in the way of quality time with your family like it did with my best friend. However, when you let social media get in the way of your human interaction, you lose more than connection—you lose meaning.

Millennials lost meaning when we lost our attention span. According to Times magazine our attention span is lower than that of a goldfish. It’s no surprise when we watch 7-second videos called Vines and then switch to a different app because we’re bored. Many millennials switch between different games, homework assignments and various social media platforms then lie to themselves and call it multi-tasking. News flash: multi-tasking isn’t a thing.

We became more disconnected when we decided to spend more face-to-face time with our electronics than our friends. For one, if you live with some and decide to call or text them instead of going to his/her location within the house then you’re just being lazy. For two, if you are hanging out with your friend and you’re on your electronics the entire time then you’re not actually hanging out.

Many Tumblr post talk about finding a friend that is comfortable with sitting in silence with you. It’s one thing to be comfortable with silence but it’s another thing to be silent because you’re too busy on Facebook or other social media outlets. Again, that’s not hanging out—that’s Facebooking.

Speaking of friends, millennials lost connection when we lost the definition of friend. According to Forbes, “users had an average of about 150 friends, of which 4.1 were dependable.” Essentially meaning not all of your friends are your friends. A friend, as I like to say, is someone you invest in—you invest your time, energy, love and more—not someone whose status you regularly like because they’re funny. That, again, is just Facebooking.

And yet this epidemic where we have lost meaning and connection plagues more than just millennials, it affects anyone living in the United States. Times magazine said that, “the average person looks at his/her phone 46 times every day.” Don’t believe you’re one of them? Try playing a game with your family or friends when you’re eating together. Just put your phones face down. The first person to pick up his/her phone loses. My best friend couldn’t last two minutes. Hopefully, you can do better.

 



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