Smartphones: Accessory or addiction?

With the iPhone, iPad, and MacBook Pro, my life is dominated by several Apple products, all of which I consider essential to my well-being. Everything I need, use, and want is shared between these three technological devices. So, what happens when one of these gadgets is taken away for 24 hours? Last Thursday I attempted to go an entire day without my iPhone 5, and by noon I was suffering major withdrawal. The torture of not being able to text, check Facebook every ten minutes, or “like” photos on Instagram was overwhelming.

The smartphone really has changed the dynamics of everyday life. The power of having a miniature computer on hand that also allows you to make phone calls has become quite a necessity for many people; so much so, that the idea of someone without one is abnormal.

As a tech-savvy generation, we are unaware, perhaps, of how dependent we have become on our cell phones. The cell phone did not just revolutionize communication and technological abilities, but there is so much power in that one little device that makes it really hard to give up.

Putting down my own phone for a brief period of time taught and revealed to me several things.

First, the cell phone is not just a communication device or an avenue to the Internet but a real “security blanket”. Having a cell phone at all times really has the capability of putting one at ease in any uncomfortable situation. It takes the place of having a real person. What do you do when you’re in a public place and you don’t want to be bothered? Pull out your phone. What do you do when you don’t want to look awkward or wish to avoid other public humiliation? Pull out your phone. It automatically lets people know that you aren’t alone. It shows people that you’re busy, and it can provide limitless entertainment for hours on end, without forcing you to deal with another person. Frequently throughout the day I reached for my phone to avoid situations, only to realize that I did not have it.

Secondly, I realized that I am completely dependent on technology, and without it, I would crumble. The cell phone is kind of like our baby; we treat it like a child. We want to take care of it, charge it as often as possible, protect it with cases, and avoid letting it hit the ground because we cherish it so much.  There were many times in that 24-hour period when I realized that I hadn’t seen my phone, and a wave of panic overtook me because I couldn’t find it.  I was ready to issue an Amber Alert, only to remember a few seconds later that I was making a sacrifice that day.

Our phones hold everything that is important and dear to us. My phone holds 3,000 songs from my iTunes account, banking information in the Wells Fargo app, passwords and usernames in the Lockbox app, over 2,000 pictures taken over the years, and many other things that I treasure. If something were to happen to it, I am not even sure how I would react.

I’m not the only one who has this sort of attachment to and maternal-like instinct for my cell phone.

Senior Natalie Koren said “I don’t even have a smartphone, and I couldn’t do that.” There were other students at CNU with the same feelings, and when asked if they could go 24 hours without touching their phones, the universal answer was a defiant “no.”

Senior Jessica Convery answered, “I use my phone for a lot of things: alarms, reminders, everything.”

Another senior, Chelsea Hall replied, “I have been without my phone, but it was definitely not by choice–it broke.”