Escaping the smartphone comfort zone

Kayla Chavier, Features Editor

In seventh grade, if you had a cell phone, you were considered “cool”.  If you had an iPhone, you were one of the most popular kids in school.  Absorbed by this social phenomenon, I was thrilled when in ninth grade I got to ditch my brown slide-phone, a.k.a.” The brick”, for a green iPhone 5c.  

However, what I didn’t realize then is that the minute I chose to “slide to unlock”, I was adapting to the new human reflex of checking my phone when I had nothing better to do.

The obsession over cell phones is certainly prominent in the United States in general, and it is prominent at Westford Academy.  

When the WA Ghostwriter sent out a survey asking students what type of cell phones they had. One-hundred percent of the participants answered that they own a cell phone, and 79.5 % responded that they had iPhones. 

Results taken from survey sent to WA students
Results taken from survey sent to WA students

During lunch, many students are more comfortable with reaching for their phones instead of communicating with their peers.  Cell phones have saved students from awkward interactions, but they are distracting us from appreciating the world and people around us.

Cell phones have become a serious problem with communicating.  Several of my friends have difficulty conversing with people they do not know, simply calling to order pizza, or carrying on a conversation with another classmate about topics beyond school or social media.  It is disappointing that the extensive education we receive at Westford Academy may go to waste in the real world if we cannot learn to communicate with professors or other students face-to-face.

The loss of communication skills is partially understandable since reaching for our cell phones is so addicting.  We check the weather, play various games, or write our essays on the Google Drive application.  Although smartphones are convenient and sometimes useful for last-minute studying, we have become dependent upon them.

I for one have fallen into the trap of using my phone to “check the time” which later turned into playing a game or scrolling through my Instagram feed.

Even in the past I have left my cell phone in my locker and I would practically hyperventilate until it was retrieved. I blame my fret over losing it on the fact that it will cost a lot of money to replace it.  However, I think there are other sources of anxiety at play.

Our entire lives are written in the events in the calendar application, in the contacts, and in the music we play.  When we lose our phones, the apocalypse seems to be around the corner.  We cannot survive without them, because they are a source of last-minute communication.  They answer questions at the drop of a hat and provide entertainment if we allow our minds more than a minute to wander.

It is frightening that WA students and people beyond Westford are dependent on their phones. However I know that if humans have been able to survive for 2,000 years without cell phones, we can exist without them now.

We have taken all those thousands of years to develop language and to understand each other, and this wasting this knowledge is overridden by looking into a cell phone screen all day.

We need to change our attitudes, or else I feel that future generations will not know how to live without a cell phone glued to their fingers.  

I have recently deleted several social media applications from my cell phone to decrease temptation.  I know it will be difficult to detach from the smartphone comfort zone, but I feel that if we start to look away from the screens we will appreciate other people and remember how to interact.