ATTENTION. OPINION. OBSESSION.
WRITTEN BY CHARLES ODUGBESAN
You know how you often hear people declare how much of a struggle or what a standstill their lives would come to without their phone? Well for almost a day or two back in late August, on my holiday in L.A this is how I felt when I dropped and smashed my iPhone!
My mum is always going on at me about how ‘attached’ and ‘obsessed’ with my phone I’m becoming these days. And whilst I do use it religiously in my day to day life, I always thought these particular words she was using were a little far-fetched. “Attached”, “Obsessed”, “Fixated”. That definitely isn’t me. But it took me breaking my phone to actually realise that she may have been on to something.
Imagine being in Los Angeles, California, one of the most famous places in the world: palm trees and permanent beautiful weather; Hollywood and Beverly Hills up the road; San Diego and Long Beach towards the coasts; 10 days of a whole exciting new culture to explore. The type of destination you may only visit once in your life. And there I was pissed for two days because I dropped my phone and couldn’t stay in touch with my miserable lot back in drizzly, 16 degree London?! It’s laughable honestly.
Here’s a few things that came to mind when I considered just how glued to my phone I am.
People can’t even walk down the street without focusing these days because their phones have all their attention. We’ve all watched people walk into lampposts, street signs and even each other because their eyes aren’t facing forward and maybe we’ve done that ourselves too! For a while passers-by on mopeds in London were snatching iPhones and Samsung’s right out of people’s hands without them realising any kind of danger. Can you wash dishes, be sat on the toilet or even eat without your phone on you? Simple things you know.
Also, while we’re on the subject of attention and the craving of it these days; on top of all this, people are fixated with social media. Double taps and retweets are now what serve people as a confidence booster and a validation of their self-worth. Does that sound like a healthy concept? Not to mention those who do things that are simply wild and out of character just to draw an audience towards them. Social media (one of the main characteristics of smartphones these days) can be one big vanity show at times.
We don’t really need our brains anymore to be honest do we? Smartphones can do everything for us right? From solving a maths equation for us in less than a second, to giving us ill-informed quick fixes of whatever is ‘happening’ in the world at any point in time, even to the popular retweets and double taps that influence how we think and behave these days. And that last one… what a way to ‘keep everyone in line’ so to speak. No one should think uniquely or independently and consequently are ignored or even shunned if they do so. Whatever is on the end of your 6-8 inch screen is the dictator now. It seems like the days of having a mind of your own is as old as our parents; which brings me back to what mine told me earlier!
I know I’m not alone on this one. Every so often we all get complaints from parents or people from previous generations about how we’re always on our phones. And we can’t deny it can we? The definition of obsession is, “An idea or thought that continually preoccupies or intrudes a person’s mind.” Now think about that and try going without your phone for a week, and if you don’t already, you may see for yourself that when it comes to our devices; this definition isn’t far off from being accurate! Put the phone down and use your eyes to take in the surroundings sometimes. Live in the moment! You don’t need to Snapchat your whole night out or every song at the concert. What are you making a documentary for? Stick the thing on silent and put it face down when you’re out with friends or on a date. Or better yet, out of sight. It won’t kill you to come back to reality and focus on the people physically around you just for a little while, I promise!
At the end of the day our minds are our most powerful tool. As beneficial as fast paced technology is it should not make us lazy and use our own minds less. Simply put, no good comes from being over dependent on technology. So take a step back and slow it down from time to time guys. Gather yourself.
Oh, and by the way, L.A was one of the best holidays of my life. Even after the phone casualty!