By Chelsea LoCascio Production Manager
In the aftermath of last weekend’s blizzard, I watched helplessly as another student slipped on the slush but was too focused on her phone to even notice. As a society, individuals have become so desensitized to embarrassing blunders like this that witnessing distracted students jaywalk in front of cars or walk into someone without apologizing is a part of daily routine.
And yet I still hope that they will notice how rude they are being and pull their attention away from their phone in time to see what is happening all around them.
According to a report that was published in October 2014 by Safe Kids Worldwide, every hour there is a teen pedestrian in the United States who is injured or killed after being hit by a car. Of teens who have been hit or almost hit while crossing the street, 47 percent were reported to be listening to music, 18 percent were texting and 20 percent were talking on the phone, according to the same study.
These numbers are too high.
The statistics highlight an alarming amount of people who are downright obsessed with their phone. Next time you are in Eickhoff Hall, look around at everyone eating. A majority of people who eat by themselves cannot stand being alone, so they turn to social media, games or texting, all of which suck them into a virtual world so the real one seems less lonely.
There are also those who eat in a group but cannot pull themselves away from their phone long enough to join in on the conversation. With their eyes glued to their screen, these people miss contributing to great conversations, developing social skills and bonding with new people.
This obsession can also hurt friendships. While an individual vents or needs consoling, they are often ignored and possibly convinced that their problems are not important enough to discuss in conversation. People become so absorbed in checking their YikYak that they unintentionally neglect their own friends.
Oftentimes, when someone even travels, they have become so captivated by taking selfies or snapchatting they forget to appreciate the new environment they are in. Foreign countries are remembered by photos on a screen, not by having experienced the sights of being there. Even at concerts and parties, the priority for many has become taking a ton of pictures and videos, not enjoying the new surroundings.
It is important for people to remember to take a step back from the phone and stop trying to document every little detail rather than live it. One should not deal with awkward moments or intimidating situations by turning to their phone to avoid learning how to cope. Facing real places, people and even emotions helps someone mature. Inhibiting that growth in this pivotal point in our lives will only make the transition into adulthood more difficult than it already is.
As Edward Norton’s character Mike Shiner said in the Oscar winner, “Birdman,” “Stop looking at the world through your cell phones. Have a real experience.” I could not agree more.