By Ashley Ioveno
You’re walking through the halls of Humanites on the way to class and notice somebody running back and forth, waving their hands in the air while talking on their phone. They are talking in a voice that bounces off the walls 10 classrooms away, paying no attention to the people around them.
You’re walking through Hillwood trying to find a seat, and all you hear is “OMG I can’t believe she Instagrammed that! Did you see her tweet? I saw it on Facebook!” Many students are not only ignoring their lunch but they’re also ignoring the friends sitting next to them. Instead, they are busy texting or tweeting other “friends.”
Anything sound familiar? The truth is: Cell phones are taking over the world and LIU Post one tweet at a time. According to the Telecom Agency [a specialized agency that is responsible for issues that concern information and communication technologies], recent studies show that out of the world’s seven billion people, six billion have access to mobile phones. Only 4.5 of these seven million have working toilets. Everyone can list all the ways cell phones have improved our lives, but life pre-cell phone was a lot less chaotic.
Believe it or not, your cell phone is causing you more damage than good.
Research by the Telecom Agency has shown that people who are constantly breaking away from tasks to reply to emails or text
messages suffer effects on the mind similar to losing a night’s sleep. The majority of us probably need to change how frequently we use our cell phones.
How many people can you see right now? How many are on their phone?
To see how frequent cell phone usage is at LIU Post, a small informal study was conducted on 11 Post students by text.
The survey started with the question “Do you think you are addicted to your cellphone?” 10 out of 11 said yes.
Hunter Stones, a junior Social Work major, explained how she couldn’t go more than 40 minutes without checking her phone. “I can’t last any time at all without my phone; it is always with me,” said James Harrison, a junior Forensics major.
All students in the group agreed that the most frequently used applications are Twitter and Instagram, and when asked if they use the phone in class, while driving, and even in the bathroom, all said yes.
“I always hear someone saying ‘OMG look at her tweet or OMG look at that Instagram picture.’ – I constantly see people on their phone,” said Brooke Eversman, a freshman Education major.
Kevin Felden, a senior Political Science major, and Ashley Munford, a junior Education major, both agreed that when going out to eat, people are on their phones. “Whoever I’m with is usually checking their phone,” Munford said. When the students were asked why they rather send a text over making a phone call, all answers involved convenience. Texting is “easier, faster and more private,” said Felden. “Most people will answer a text over a phone call,” said Billy Sullivan, a senior Business major.
Junior Medical Imaging major Shannon Reilly disagreed, and said, “I honestly prefer calling over texting; it’s more personal.” Gerry DeAngelo, a freshman Art major said, “It’s easier to text and it saves precious time. Addicted…not yet. But I guess I’m getting there.”
So how do you detach yourself from your phone and take yourself off “autopilot?” Well, just like any other bad habit, kick it to the curb. Here are five tips that will help:
1. Delete all unimportant apps
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, and Snapchat, along with any other social media apps, are not important. You do not need to micromanage social media sites and be informed of all events at every second of every day. Stop looking at the sky through a picture that has gone through 40 edits and filters, and just look up. People have their heads buried in the phones at all times and miss out on real life experiences. Actually take your friend to that really cool place you always text pictures of, and share the memory instead.
“The use of texting, Facebook, Twitter and other sites as a form of communication is corrupting people’s ability to write sentences that communicate real meaning,” Saunders Medlock, owner of Life by Design Coaching, said in a recent ‘Coaching Tip Of The Week’ video. “It also allows people to communicate without ever seeing each other or hearing a voice, and this has a huge impact in that much communication is done nonverbally.” Delete the apps. It’s not that hard – promise.
2. Silence/Vibrate/Do Not Disturb mode
It’s not as bad as it sounds; there are just times when you shouldn’t be interrupted! Designate certain parts of the day to work on things you need to get done, such as your schoolwork, hanging with your friends, and driving. Turn the ringer off during class, practice, dinner and other family or alone time, so you can really enjoy what’s around you.
Take a leap of faith and realize everything will not crumble just because you don’t instantly know when a “like” or text message comes in. It may not be easy at first, but it really is beneficial. Save certain time throughout the day to read e-mails and texts instead of constantly checking your phone every time you feel a buzz.
3. Leave the phone behind
It’s great that you can do just about everything on your cellphone, but can you do anything without it? You don’t need the phone when running to the bank, food store, or gym – but I bet it’s always by your side. Take some time to yourself and enjoy the alone time; sometimes the gossip gets overwhelming. Don’t use phones at a meal, whether at home or eating out, and don’t check the phone on a date or when you are out with friends. You don’t need your phone while in an important meeting. It can wait. Don’t feel the need to update the world every time you change location – we will manage change.
4. Work with friends to limit texting
It’s always easier to fix things with a partner, rather than doing it alone. Get a group of friends together and see who can go the longest without posting a picture or sending out a tweet. See who sends the first text message and reward the friend who can wait the longest. The more enjoyable you make it, the less dependent you will become of your phone.
Reilly teamed up with some friends to see if this strategy really works – and it proved effective. “After deleting all of my unnecessary applications, and limiting my texting, I was on my phone way less. This helped me to have more verbal contact with my friends, rather than always talking through a text. Deleting the apps was extremely helpful. It brought my friend group closer together; making a phone call wasn’t so bad after all.”
5. Switch phones
You don’t need an iPhone to be able to connect with people. You don’t need the fastest, sleekest, LTE, touch screen phone to send a message. The original flip phone is all you need: you can text and make phone calls. In all honesty, the rest can wait.