A Kent State University study has found that people who can’t resist checking their phones experience more anxiety and unhappiness than those who can. For avid phone users, answering calls, texts, and social media messages becomes a stressful “obligation” – phone-obsessed students actually receive poorer grades than their peers. Rather than enhancing interpersonal connections, these devices increase the pressure we feel to stay in constant contact.
Smartphones get a lot of flak these days, and for the most part rightly so. No, you shouldn’t go out to eat with a glowing screen between your plate and your face. No, you shouldn’t socialize for the sole purpose of having interesting things to Instagram. No, you shouldn’t text someone who’s three feet away from you (unless you’re quietly gossiping about the people around you, in which case, as you were).
I get it, scientists. You’re clearly right. But if you didn’t want me to stare at my phone, you shouldn’t have made it capable of insane space-age shit that, as far as I’m concerned, is basically magic. I love my phone. It is a clunky, years-old iPhone in a dirty Otterbox and when I plug it into my computer, its name displays as “Bill Murray.” Because we live in the future, we regularly flirt and even fall a little bit in love through texts. There’s an entirely new dimension to our conversations now that the answers to questions like “Was Ryan Gosling really in Remember the Titans?” (yes, and so was Avon Barksdale) are in the palms of our hands. Snapchat somehow exists.
I’m tired of everyone being so sanctimonious all the time. Smartphones are problematic, but they’re also fucking awesome – and a vital part of how we communicate today. All things in moderation, people.
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