Stop looking at this screen

Cody Deitz, Features Editor

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     In a world dominated by technology, are we hurting the human race by isolating ourselves and living through a screen?

     Technology was always based on making our lives easier. Trains for transportation, telegraphs for faster communication and even lightbulbs for help through the darkness. I would argue our biggest technological advancement ever, solely looking at communication, is the cell phone.

     This form of technology was supposed to make us more connected. What started as a mechanism solely for phoning on the go has reached something completely different.

     Now we can stay in touch with our friends all the time on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and, of course, by texting. But are our smartphones actually getting in the way of real socializing? Could technology be making us more alone?

     While hiking in between classes, I noticed that most people were walking around with their eyes glued to their phone, or completely deadpan with earbuds in. When I was eating food with my friends after classes, I noticed a plethora of people sitting by themselves playing on their phone.

     All I could think about is how alone they could have felt, and they were turning to technology to fix it. It made sense in that moment that they needed something to take them out of that space where they were alone and move to a space where they weren’t.

     On the other hand, while I was eating with my friends, I saw a group of four just sitting on their phones not communicating with each other at all. Their phones seemed more important. The three of them were in a space where they were together, but they were all alone individually.

     The psychology part of me wants to blame a previous occurrence where they filled silence or a lull in conversation with their phones, but I have no clue. I just want to comprehend where technology becomes a social issue. Technology gives us our own space and creates a private world for us. I’m surrounded with people who would rather sit and stare at their screens than talk face to face.

     A couple of days ago, I went to McDonald’s and I couldn’t order a damn McChicken without going to a touchscreen. Once again, I was alone with technology.

      This whole article is hypocritical as well, as I need to isolate myself from the world to put these words onto my Macbook. I have to shut the door on my roommate, turn my phone on Do Not Disturb and be one with my laptop. I am alone once again.

     I don’t want to minimize the importance of the connectedness we now have with technology. I can call my mom right now and get all the scoop happening with my family. I can Facetime with my sister and see my two nieces grow up while I’m away at school.

     Technology gave the world these new ways to communicate, but it took away from the now. It took away from the things happening off of the screen. You are alone when you’re with your phone.

     I feel bad for those who feel alone. I hate being alone, but I try not to fill the void with my phone. I join clubs and organizations that appeal to my interests and I make an effort to know people. I crave that sense of interaction with another person. It makes me happy.

     I walk down the sidewalks and greet all those I know. My friends tend to make comments that we can’t go places without me knowing someone. I am able to have those “feel good,” meaningful conversations face to face.

     I know that I do that so I don’t have to be alone. If I were to attach my loneliness to my phone, I would lose that social aspect about myself to a black screen. I deserve more, the world deserves more.

     Stop looking at your phones. Stop it. Look at the changing world around you. There is so much to see and to experience, all of which can happen without the gadget in your hands.

     Make time for your friends. Turn your phones off and go adventure. If you want to photograph it, do it and show those what they’re missing on your own time when you’re not with those you love.

     We are living in a pay-it-forward world, so go out and give that social interaction to someone who needs it and relies on technology for it. Give them the here and show that they are missing. Maybe one day we will regain the sense of connection we once had—without technology.

Cody Deitz is an English Literature major with minors in psychology and communication studies. He is a Features editor for The Voice.