For a device that was developed for basic calling use, it has now transformed into an on-the-go-do-just about-anything device. The cell phone is one of the most used technology pieces in everyone’s day to day lives. According to the Pew Research Center, in 2017, 77% of Americans now own smartphones. And why wouldn’t you? You can call, text, check email, navigate, search the web, use it as a calculator, pay your bills, make to-do lists and download just about any app that will enhance your lifestyle – fitness tracker, finance tracker, etc.
The possibilities are truly endless. And although it can be helpful, and is intended to make life easier, I feel like for some people (including myself) it also has had a negative effect on everyday life. With the ability to connect at all times, you see more people on their cell phones than people talking face-to face. And according to Time Magazine, “On average, people in the United States across all age groups check their phones 46 times per day.” Which may not seem like a lot, but before the advancement of cell phones people typically only checked their phone when it rang for a call or a text message.
Although helpful, I think the smartphone has caused a lot of us to be too reliant. This is why I recently have tried to practice a phrase that one of my friends actually uses often. He likes to say “hang-up and hang out.” Silly as it may sound it’s actually useful and it has made me re-think my cell phone use behavior. So here are three reasons why putting down the phone can be rewarding:
1. Strengthen Relationships
Texting and social media are two great ways to stay in touch with friends, family and colleagues. But it requires all of us to do less. We no longer have to pick up the phone to call each our close friends and family members. We assume we know what’s going on in each other’s lives by looking at posts, statuses’ etc. So what I suggest is to call your long distant friends and family every once in a while. And when you’re visiting with one another put the phone down and out of site. This way the person you have chosen to meet with is getting your full attention and doesn’t have to look at the top of your head as you look down to check your phone. I think the most disrespectful thing a person can do is to make it seem as though their time is not valuable. So if you’ve taken the time to meet, the social media, text messages, emails, etc. can be left unread.
2. Less Dependent, More Independent
Because of the convenience our cell phones have provided us, they have also made us less trusting of our own brains. I no longer need to know where I’m going. Google Maps is a touch a way and can give me the best route within seconds. Although awesome, it has made me embarrassed to not be able to describe directions to anyone. I have lived in Cleveland for almost 2 years now and still struggle with knowing which freeway will get me to where I need to be. Sure I love knowing I can’t get lost, but I would also love to just know my way around without having to rely on an app. The less faith you put in your phone the more faith you can put in yourself. If people navigated using Mapquest all those years, I think we will be just fine.
3. Enjoy the Moment
This is probably the most important reason why hanging up and hanging out is beneficial. So many times, moments are missed as we stare into the glowing screen of our phones. Car rides are no longer looking out the window or reading a book, and casual conversation is never exchanged with strangers. We all live in our own worlds and even if we are not engaged with what we are looking at, we try to avoid human interaction at all costs. Very rarely are we living in the moment as much as people used to. Putting the phone down will not only help you appreciate what is going on around you, but also see things for what they really are. The phone can wait. Don’t miss out on the experiences.