Editoral: Cell phones distort the world

By Sean Armstrong
News Editor

Cell phones have become a necessity in today’s society. People use them to plan meetings with colleagues, transport homework to and from school, and to reconnect with far away family members. I myself am rarely without my iPhone at my side.

With that being said, I feel like cell phones are necessary, but sometimes they can severely distract people from the world around them. Think about it: when your phone goes off, what happens? Nine times out of ten, your mind leaps to whatever is on that smart-phone screen. And once that happens, everything else basically disintegrates into nothingness. That Twitter notification now has your complete and undivided attention.

As one of my classmates said, “People are becoming ‘cold machines’,” and I completely agree with him. Our cell phones have some magical force that detours us from our surroundings. I bet some teachers wish they had the power of the iPhone.

Sometimes I wonder how many things I’ve missed when my eyes were glued to my iPhone. Did one of my friends walk by? Did I miss the chance to snatch a $100 bill that was blowing through the wind? Did some cute girl give me “the look”? The possibilities are endless.

It’s a common sight to see groups of friends sitting around a table, or resting on a set of couches around Crowder. However, I’ve found that it is very rare to see those kids having healthy conversations. Usually, I see them checking Facebook on their Droid. Is whatever’s on that phone really that important? I doubt it.

One of my biggest pet peeves is when I’m talking to someone, and they don’t have the decency to look at me because they have a phone in their hands. Sometimes I just stop talking and stare at them to see if they’re actually paying attention. After about 15 seconds, they’ll mumble, “What?” without even disengaging their retinas from that little screen. I sincerely apologize to anyone that has had a conversation with me while I was on my phone; I’m working on it.

Another thing that really bugs me is when I see people continuously on their phones when they’re outside. Nature is beautiful, and I know for a fact that phones will never be able to match the rush of standing on a cliff with one foot dangling off the edge. My favorite thing to do is go exploring, and usually I try to bring someone with me; just to be safe. One time I brought a girl with me. It started off fun, but then she kept complaining because she didn’t have signal on her phone. Seriously? We’re out here in the beauty of the Ozarks and you can’t stay off your phone for a few hours to soak up the environment? Needless to say, she never got to go exploring with me again.

Now, I may be old-fashioned, but I really don’t think anything can beat face-to-face interactions, or actually being in nature. It is one thing to text somebody or to see an awesome picture on Instagram, but actually meeting up with an old friend or sitting on the beach trumps it any day.

I love my phone, and at times I would probably be lost without it, but I am trying to learn to use it in moderation. Especially when I’m with people and when I’m exploring the fantastic things Mother Nature has to offer. If people don’t learn to notice the things around them, then we will slowly lose touch with what really matters. In other words, stop and smell the roses. (And pictures of roses on your iPhone don’t count.)