By Noah Boonov
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m addicted to my phone. I’ve always been addicted to technology. I’m embarrassed when my phone gives me a “Weekly Screen Report” and it says that I’ve been on for almost 8 hours a day. I know you can turn off the report, but perhaps that little bit of shame is helpful, in a way. It reminds me that I should be present, instead of escaping into the never-ending cycle of the internet. My body has become dependent on this technology. I used to spend hours on my family’s computer, then my iPod, and now on my iPhone and laptop. My family has been lucky enough to keep up with the rapidly evolving devices. I vividly remember the days of pagers and flip phones. Yet, as I get older, I reminisce about the times before smartphones.
I’m fortunate to have many passions, which has landed me some really cool jobs! I teach and lead classes for a variety of age groups. Each week, I interact with babies as young as 6 weeks old, along with their families and caretakers and kids in elementary to high school age. I am often surprised at how my young students and the grownup attendees come to a 45 minute class, just to sit on their phone. I am the silent observer of their phone habits. I watch as they are sucked into their screen and wonder if others look at me like that.
Our phones have given us a new way to connect to each other and our world. For example, I’ve been in a long distance relationship for 5 years. If it wasn’t for our phones, we wouldn’t be able to stay in contact the same way we have. We’ve spent hours on FaceTime, ordering food for each other on SkipTheDishes, and sending gifts through Amazon all through the power of my tiny iPhone. I’m grateful that technology has progressed this far to bring people together. We even met through Tinder! If it wasn’t for my phone, I wouldn’t have met my partner. But sometimes… I feel like I’m dating my phone.
I crave balance. I need to figure out how to live with and live without my phone. I’m still unsure what that might look like. I use my phone for everything, for my work, for my research, for my relationship and for my creative process as an artist. It has made my life a lot easier in ways. It also made things I used to enjoy more difficult. I no longer read for pleasure the way I used to. I have a hard time staying present in conversations. Weirdest of all, I’ve experienced “Phantom Vibration Syndrome”, the false perception that your cell phone is vibrating. Our phones have completely rewired how we think and how we perceive the world.
I’m ready to change my habits. Are you?