Smartphones are becoming a digital limb we can’t part from

Samantha Swainson, Staff Reporter

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On the streets, in our homes, in the classroom. Adults, teens and children stare at their phones, smiling at a text, scrolling through Instagram or Facebook, watching the newest show on Netflix. Heads tilted, earbuds in, each screen lights dozens, hundreds, thousands of faces.

789 photos uploaded to Instagram, 7,626 tweets, 200,000 texts sent, 60,512 Google searches. Across the world, fingers type furiously, keys are pressed, screens are lit.

All in one second.

Phones started as a simple thing, big clunky devices that many doubted even needing. They thought phones were nothing to the telegraph. Phones that were rarely touched have transformed into a necessity, a digital limb that all of us have.

“I think that many different people can become psychologically addicted to many different things,” Gordon MacDougall, language arts teacher, said. “Many people become used to this as a main communication device. Which disturbs me, I think there are issues with that.”

He’s not wrong. It was discovered, in a survey done by CNN, that the average American spends 10 hours and 39 minutes a day to screen time. Meaning out of the 168 hours in a week, we use over 50 of them staring at our devices.

“I think that it’s easy for a person to be distracted no matter what distracts them, I think that a phone gives them an enormous wealth of distractions that could be damaging,” Gordon said.

Damaging to what? The questions hundreds have asked themselves, studies have told us about the radiation our phones constantly emit and the dangers of social media towards teenagers.

“The physiological danger of being cut off, being in a bubble,” Gordon said. “When I walk down the street I’m engaged with people around me, I look them in the eyes and smile. And when you’re on your phone you can’t do that.”

84 percent of the world claims they couldn’t go a day without their phone in hand. Our phone has now become a digital limb that we can barely let go of. Most can’t go a couple minutes without checking their phone, one in four can’t go 30 minutes without checking, one in five can only go 10 minutes.

“I think everybody practically has experienced the idea that you feel twitches that aren’t even there thinking that it’s your phone getting a message. They talk about these phantom twitches that come from this idea,” Keven Wynkoop, principle and alumnus of Ballard High, said.

We are never far from our phones, that is the truth of today. When awake, our phones are a source of entertainment that’s always on our person, on the desk, or in a backpack. On a hike or at an event dozens of photos could be taken and the compulsion is to immediately share them with the world, to be able to tell the world that you’re doing something fun and exciting too.

Asleep or awake our phones are always on. By 2015, 35 percent of Americans claimed they never turned their phone off. That rate is steadily dropping. Two years have passed and now there are portable chargers ensuring your phone is always on and charged.

In 2012 an article written by New York Daily News quoted Time Magazine’s Deputy Managing Editor Nancy Gibbs,“It’s hard to think of any tool, any instrument, any object in history with which so many developed so close a relationship so quickly as we have with our phones.”

We have all fallen victim to our phones. Starting homework and deciding to finish this last level, not being able to fall asleep and instead scrolling through hundreds of posts. Technology in general is a huge part of our lives and will continue to be in decades to come, there’s no doubt about it.

With a click of a button or a couple of taps on a keyboard we have a wealth of information at our fingertips. With this advantage we rarely have to do anything, and doing nothing is effecting us.

We rarely take our eyes off of the screens around us, experiencing life through the server of a game, or a search engine. Learn to live a little without the bright light of a screen in front of you.

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