“Alright….I want everyone to put their phones in the middle of the table and leave it there until we’re done eating”—This is a simple, yet effective concept that my friends and I started to implement whenever we went out to eat. This familiar concept is something that raises a lot of attention to the “cell phone problem.” It’s a safe assumption to make that everyone should realize the negative effects that too much cell phone usage can have on an individual. I think the better question to ask is “what kind of effects does it have?”
Every so often, my parents and I have those “back in my day” conversations—the one where our parents glorify and canonize the times they shared when they were kids. The narrative is always told with a sense of improvisation and a bit of fabrication of what their reality was actually like. However, there’s one aspect to their childhood that I find myself a tad envious of and some of it has to do with the world that I live in as a 22-year-old male. The relationships they have with friends holds an unprecedented bond, mainly because of the interpersonal related time spent with each other.
What my father seems to be suggesting is that, since there was less technology, there were fewer technological distractions; there were no “barely scratching the surface, text-message-based relationships that may lead to awkward face-to-face encounters with a person you just met.” While I would argue how my phone, and technology as a whole, has led to communication being more accessible, I’ve found myself deceived into thinking that made communication better. There have been a few instances where the first stages of certain friendships were dominated through communicating via text, which led to certain issues later on. There’s something special in talking face to face, in which texting lacks.
The point I’m trying to make is not to come across as anti-cellphone use. It’s more so to encourage us into not settling with how we communicate with our friends, and how we build new ones.