YOUNG VOICES: What messages are you sending with your phone?

2014-01-13T00:00:00Z YOUNG VOICES: What messages are you sending with your phone? nwitimes.com
January 13, 2014 12:00 am  • 

Consider the following ideas:

  • Life is short.
  • It is the little things in life that mean the most.
  • Cherish the people in your life because tomorrow is never guaranteed.
  • Actions speak louder than words. 

These are some general ideas that would make most people nod in agreement.

For Christmas this year, I was blessed to receive a smartphone. At 22 years old, I stepped into a whole new world. There are so many things to do on my phone, and I know I have only hit the tip of the iceberg.

While there are many benefits in having a smart phone, I have to admit that I am disappointed in the fact that eventually I was going to have to give in to the technological advances that have become necessary in our society.

I recently went with a friend to see the movie "Frozen" (great movie), and as we waited for the movie to start I watched a husband and wife and their three kids sitting in front of us. The husband and wife had their noses buried in their phones, playing Candy Crush. The kids sat in silence, occasionally peeking over at the phone screens.

A few months ago, my parents, brother and I all went out to dinner. As we waited for our food, I watched a family sitting a few tables in front of us. All four of the family members sat with eyes glued to their own phone screen, never speaking until their food arrived.

I work part-time in retail, and it never fails that every day I work I see a young child playing on their parents’ phone as a means of distraction.

Smartphones are being used for many reasons: distractions, ways to get out of socializing, and they even serve as babysitters. What message does this send to those around us?

It has happened before that a guy asks me to go to dinner and while I dressed nicely and try to keep a conversation going, he insists on keeping his phone out on the dinner table, checking it periodically. The message being sent to me at that point is: “I don't care.”

Is it possible we are sending the same messages to the people we love? Are we wasting our time? Are we showing people that we genuinely care about them?

As Uncle Ben from Spiderman says, “With great power comes great responsibility.” There is more than a phone in the palm of your hand; there is also the ability to make someone feel uncared for, all with the press of a button.

Terah Slawnikowski, of Wheatfield, is a senior at Purdue University in West Lafayette. The opinions are the writer's.

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