vi) Permanently being on your phone
One of the main gripes from the older generation is “all youngsters are permanently on their phones”. They claim we don’t have an idea of where we’re going; we aren’t in the moment and as a result, miss the important conversations and interactions of old.
There is certainly some logic to their thinking. Walk along your nearest high street, I guarantee their view of the world will probably match the majority of the reality. I’m not about to argue that. Instead, what I’m going to argue is that it’s not a bad thing.
Maybe there are some people out there who aren’t in the moment when they’re on their phone but I know I am not one. I don’t need my phone to survive, but it certainly helps. It’s how I keep up with affairs, it’s how I research local landmarks, and it’s how I stay in touch with friends I no longer live near. We live in a global age of communication; it would be absurd to consider living without a phone, even for a little time.
When I’m on my phone, I’m still aware of what is around me. In fact, I’d argue I’m more aware of what is around me. Walking into someone, or something, and I’d like to point out I’ve walked into many obstacles without being glued to my phone screen anyway, is an embarrassing moment and therefore one I tried to avoid at all costs. It’s possible I miss stuff, but then I would do that anyway whether I’m on my phone or not.
Do I really miss important conversations and interactions? Interactions between strangers were on the decrease before the mobile age anyway, and as addressed above, I’d argue I have more conversations now than I would do without my phone.
I just don’t see our increase in dependence on mobile phones a bad thing. It’s easy to say that they’re awful, melt our brains and stress us out too much – they are arguments we are used to hearing. Defending them is a lot harder. I could say they are intellectual, but then I know that for the majority of us they aren’t. I could say they’ve increased communication between people on other sides of the world, and I’m right, but doubters would always find some way to prove that that’s not as good as I say, child exploitation for example.
I agree it’s nice to have a few hours, days, away from it. But most of the time, a phone is a great way to communicate, explore and enjoy. So what if we are all glued to our screens while out and about, it doesn’t mean we aren’t aware of what is around us.