Northern Iowan

Is your phone your life support?

ADRIANA MIENE, Opinion Columnist

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Take a look around. How many people do you see looking at their phones? If you’re somewhere that I like to call “a place of waiting,” such as a doctor’s office, airport or the DMV, then chances are, everyone you see is staring at a screen.

As a server at a restaurant, I notice people on dates paying more attention to their phones than each other. I know I am also guilty of being on my phone instead of spending time with the people around me, but I am challenging myself to have more face-to-face time instead. I don’t want to miss out on the memories because I was scrolling through my Twitter feed.

According to eMarketer, “US adults will spend an average of 3 hours, 35 minutes per day on mobile devices in 2018…” When we think about the hours dedicated to sleep and work/school each day, three plus hours is a lot of time. If the average person sleeps eight hours a day, works eight hours a day and is on their phone for at least three hours a day, then there are only five hours left for interpersonal relationships.

Why is it so hard for us to put our phones down and talk to the people around us?

“So many people are addicted to their phones because they provide us with instant feedback and instant gratification,” said psychotherapist Tom Kersting in an interview with Adria Valdes Greenhauff, a writer for The List. Kersting said, “Want to know the weather forecast? Okay. Need to know the name of that actor from that movie? No problem. Want to talk to your uncle in California? Okay, no problem. Because we rely on them for just about everything, when we don’t have them we go into withdrawal.”

Just like other addictions, the habit is hard to break. But I challenge you to put your phone away and interact with the people around you. Start by establishing a rule as simple as “No phones at the kitchen table” and take it from there.

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Is your phone your life support?