OP-ED BY BROOKLYN FELL
I am waiting in line by myself at Longo’s, there is about three people in front of me and a couple behind me. I have a basket full of food in one hand and my cell phone in the other.
What am I looking at?
I might as well keep looking at it, because at least this way I will look like I’m busy, and nobody will talk to me.
You can chalk it up to social anxiety or even unfriendliness, but the fact of the matter is that I used and continue to use my iPhone as a security blanket.
And I am not alone.
According to Pew Research Center about 30 per cent of North Americans aged 18 to 29 use their cellphone to avoid unwanted social interactions.
I’m not saying technology is the enemy, since the technological boom of the 20th century we have never been so well connected. Smartphone use in Canada alone has grown to over 76 per cent in 2016 as per Stats Canada.
It doesn’t take a carrier pigeon three days to deliver a message any more. You can receive in instantaneously.
But like all good things, they are only good in moderation.
There is something seriously wrong in the fact that I can’t be left alone in a restaurant while someone goes to the bathroom without having to stare at my phone until they come back. And even in some situations I still stare at my phone even if they’re sitting there talking to me.
Why are we so scared to just look around and enjoy the world around us?
We are so obsessed with the interconnectivity through our phones that we completely miss the point of connection in the real world.
“I honestly feel naked without my phone,” says Sheridan student Shay Chopra. “I can’t leave the house without feeling like I’m missing something, I’ll even turn around my car to go back and get it if I leave it at home.”
We are lacking the ability to make real connections with one another because we’re too connected to our phones.
According to the University of New South Wales in Australia, oxytocin, which is often referred to as the “love drug”, is released when we make eye contact with another human being. It is also released every single time we get a text message.
Constantly using our cellphones as a crutch to avoid social situation is detrimental to our social skills.
My parents’ generation would consider the ability to talk one’s self out of an awkward situation to be an art form.
As millennials we need to turn off the phones and learn how to embrace the world around us, even if that means awkward small talk with your high school ex at the mall.
It’s one thing to post your entire life through your phone, and it’s another thing to completely miss your life because of it.