You memory isn’t what it used to be

Think back to the days of landline phones, or even those fun wireless phones that you could use all over the house. How many phone numbers could you dial by heart back then? Okay, how many phone numbers do you know by heart currently? Let’s just be honest, if there wasn’t a digital address book built into our phones complete with name, email address, social media handles and even photos, we’d probably only call our parents and maybe the local pizza joint. It’s not just phone numbers, though: If your calendar didn’t remind you to wake up, head to that meeting or buy flowers for your significant other’s birthday, would you? Don’t even get me started on GPS! What in the world did we do before the “blue dot” showing us the way? In the past, we used MapQuest or some other direction website and had to simply figure it out. Now, we’re more likely to coast and be less engaged because of the safety net that is our smartphone.

Time becomes relative — aka you’re flaky

Maybe you’re just late in general, but I remember the days of meeting with friends and having no way to change or cancel plans at the last minute. Think back pre-cell phone era… now imagine telling your friend that you would meet them at the movies at 6:00 and you roll up at 6:30. This would result in one of two possibilities: 1) You’d be watching that movie alone, salty AF, or 2) They’d have already called your parents who then would be filing the missing person report. Today, it’s a text, a voice message or even a Snap saying “#mybad I’ll be ten minutes late… “or “I’m not feeling it, I need to cancel.“  It’s way too easy now to do things at the last minute, and as a result, we’re less likely to stick to our word and follow through with plans and obligations when saying ‘no’ is as simple as an emoji, a few letters and hitting send.

Phubbing, Phub, Phub, Phubber

We all do it, and now there’s a name for it: Phubbing comes from phone + snubbing. It’s when you’re mid-conversation but answer a text message or a call. It’s when you’re at dinner with another living, breathing human being, but decide to scroll through your Instagram feed. It’s also leaving your phone at arm’s length and in your line of sight — you know, just in case someone calls. What it says to your partner or friend is that ‘yes, you’re important, but if something more interesting comes my way, like a new video about puppies learning to walk down stairs, I’m going to have to cut this convo short.’  Can you imagine having a deep conversation and someone’s eyes drift slowly toward their phone as they laugh to themselves about a stranger’s vacation photos from 2010? It’s strange, but we do it all the time! If you were sitting at lunch with your best friend and their eyes kept darting nervously back and forth between you and, say, a fax machine, you’d call them out for being rude (and a time-traveler, because what is a fax machine), so why is it acceptable to do this with our smartphones?

We’re not as present. We choose to look at what’s in front of us and then bury our noses into a screen in hopes of finding something better or more entertaining. When we’re in new and perhaps uncomfortable situations, we pull our phones instead of embracing the newness and leaving our comfort zones. When we’re bored, we resort to smartphones. When we wake up, smartphones. Before bed? smartphones. The most recent iPhone update allows us to turn off the blue light on the screen because it literally has negative effects on our sleep patterns, and Apple knew that people most definitely weren’t going to change their habits of pre-sleep scrolling.

There are so many ways that life has become easier since the creation of the smartphone. That said, it never hurts to put it down, turn it off, and be reminded that not only are you capable, but life happens off screen.

How do you take a break from your smartphone? Let us know in the comments below!

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