Hotline Bling

Mobile phones are not the evil they’re made out to be


Phones away!

We’re tired of hearing it. Teachers, parents and the technology resistant see mobile devices as the bane of the millennial generation, when really, they are great assets to have.

We, as teens, are constantly bashed for being attached to our phones. It’s true, many teens would say their phones feel just like an extension of their body, but our involvement in the digital world doesn’t mean that we’re detached from reality or that we’re anti-social: we have more access to the world than was ever thought possible.

The constant contact we get through texting and using social media gives the haters a chance to say that we are ruining face-to-face interactions. But as an article in The Guardian says, the Pew Research Center has “found that the most avid texters are also the kids most likely to spend time with friends in person. One form of socializing doesn’t replace the other. It augments it.”

So teen’s physical interactions are not disappearing. Logically enough, talking to your friends (no matter what the platform) makes your bond closer as well as allowing you to plan meet-ups, leading to more face-time.

The vast connections that we can make beyond our social circles are what can be really amazing though. Especially for people who may feel like outsiders, being able to contact similar people through their phones can be life changing and even life-saving. The Center for Innovative Public Health Research’s article, “Benefits of Teens Using Technology” mentions how members of the LGBTQ+ community can find refuge online that they couldn’t irl (in real life).

Apps that help monitor health are popular too. We can track anything from our REM sleep to our menstrual cycles. So many have been eager to show me the graph of their sleep from the night before or how many steps they’ve taken with their FitBit. The way that we can monitor and improve our health so simply and quickly is an undeniable benefit.

For some reason, these amazing features are rarely praised. Skeptics always just think we’re scrolling through newsfeeds, commenting, replying, direct messaging and Snapchatting 24/7. This is often not the case, but to be fair, these social medias can actually distract us from schoolwork or real-world events if we’re not careful.

The solution is not to cut yourself off though. Accounts like that of Essena O’neill (a girl who gained popularity over social media, but then decided it was toxic) that denounce all use of social and the users themselves are absurd. Just because someone has a negative experience does not mean that all people who use social media are fake and living a lie. If you remain aloof and put down technology like that you’re only missing out–technology is a huge part of the future whether you like it or not.

The simplest solution is to realize when you’re crossing a line. Looking at your phone in the hallway or waiting rooms or as a study break is completely fine. Instagramming your food during your family reunion dinner instead of interacting is not. You have to separate yourself from the screen every once-in-awhile if you want to get anything done.

Overall, though, don’t be ashamed to love your cellphone. Gather all your friends around the screen to see the latest viral video or tweet that funny thought–why not? It’s fun! Smart phones may be a quirk of our generation, but they’re definitely not a curse. To the technology resistant: Get over it.