I recently saw a couple with a young baby hanging out outdoors, and both of the parents were on their own smartphones. It made me think about our society’s love affair with our smartphones. I think if we did a survey, most people would say that they can’t live without their phones. I think some would even go as far as to call their phone their best friend. How did we get to this point? I remember when pagers/beepers were all the rage. But then again, we didn’t have access to what feels like unlimited information when we had pagers. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it seems like some people have begun to miss out on unplanned and magical moments that happen in life. You see them (or you may be one) going about their daily activities outside of their home, but only look up to see the world around them for a few seconds to make sure no one walks into them, to see who sat down next to them, or if their it’s safe to cross the street. Sometimes I sit and wonder at what point (or even if) we’ll stop being okay with missing out on the unplanned and amazing moments that happen in life that don’t involve our phones? You may be thinking to yourself, what amazing moments? There are LOTS of amazing moments and videos I can see on my phone. You’re right. There are lots of funny, fascinating and cool things to look at on our phones but there are also opportunities we miss out on when we’re looking at our phones. Like for example, maintaining your relationships with your friends and family members. Studies have found that many people say that they feel lonely even though they may have Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat accounts. I think we can forget that we need other people. Let me be more specific, we need to interact (hugs, kisses, gazing into eyes) in real time with other people. I think it’s easy to miss out on these magical moments with loved ones when we’re on our phone from sunrise to sunset. Also, when was the last time you watched the sunrise or sunset WITHOUT trying to get the perfect recording of it so that you could post it to social media? I think we miss out on making memories (in our long-term memory) because we’re too busy trying to include our phone in the process instead of just being present and being okay without having a digital record of the event. With that being said, I challenge you, the next time you’re out and about to put your phone away so that you can see some of the amazing things that happen when your fully present to what is happening around you at any given moment. I bet you’ll learn or see something new that’ll leave a smile on your face.
Photo by Julia Caesar
Christina is a Psychotherapist in private practice in Oakland California.