Cell Phones: Do We Use Them, Or Do They Use Us?

The following Op-Ed was written for Quill and Scroll by FA Freshman, Ruby Berthole.

Everyday, All Day …
Even if we don’t want to admit it, many of us have grown attached to our smartphones. Multiple times throughout the day- before school, during dinner, before bed- we just can’t seem to put them down. In fact, the average person uses their phone for about 4 and a half hours a day. Almost everyone can agree on how easy it is to get addicted to them, with all it has to offer. Out of all the people in the world, 67% have mobile devices, and 43% have cell phones. Mobile technology is used all around the world. However, there are dangers our devices may bring that we might not be aware of. 

May Not Be Good for Us…
A familiar danger our phones bring is a distraction. We can get so caught up in what’s on our screens, that we can’t give our attention to something as important as driving. Statistics say that 1 out of every 4 car accidents in the United States is caused by texting and driving. Besides distraction, our devices can cause us problems affecting our own health. For example, Cell phones use Blue Light in their screens that can damage the retina in our eyes, affecting our eyesight. Not only that but our devices emit radiation called radiofrequency energy. These types of waves have been linked to causing negative changes in brain activity and even cancerous tissue. Due to inconsistencies such as recall bias and evolving technology, cell phone studies are ongoing and constantly changing. Nevertheless, it’s much better to be safe than sorry.

Balance & Change: An Alternative!
Fortunately, dangers like these can be avoided just by using our phones less. Although it is beneficial, it is harder than it seems. However, there are effective adjustments you can make to help you in your temptation. You can start by turning off the notifications on your phone, so there are no vibrations or rings to get your attention. If that tip ends up unsuccessful, turn on airplane mode to help. That way, if you do get on your phone, there will be no connection to get yourself lost in social media or the internet. Many people can agree that one of the most enjoyable ways to spend less time on your phone is finding a hobby you really like. Instead of scrolling through sunsets on Instagram, learn how to paint a sunset. Instead of watching another youtube video, go for a bike ride. Find non-electronic activities you love and even invite some friends to join. Sure, there are tons of aids and entertainment a phone can bring, but there are also risks that can be avoided. 

Now, this doesn’t mean that we have to cut off phones from our lives. We live in a time where cell phones rule us, instead of the other way around. They may interfere with our behavior and focus, but they still can give us security, communication, and entertainment. We just need to find balance in our lives. Consider the good old-fashioned ways of exploring the world and reaching out to people beyond a text message. That way, we can find a fresh alternative to get thing’s done, all while keeping us safe and healthy.

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