In my experience, having a smartphone has been a tool that has improved my life and made interactions with classmates easier.
I didn’t always have a smartphone during college. I had a normal cellphone for most of my freshman year until I bought my first smartphone.
Having a smartphone has been an enriching experience because it allows me to do so many things, just from my phone. However, having it has also been a test of self-control.
One of the main reasons I bought a smartphone was to be able to communicate with friends and family easily and conveniently. I thought having direct access to social networks would help me be more responsible in responding to my family and friends’ messages.
What actually occurred was a far cry from my hopes of rectifying my tendency to procrastinate.
I found that I enjoyed being able to complete work assignments from my phone, organize my schedule accordingly and be in constant communication with my friends.
I also sometimes found myself distracted by social media, choosing to scroll aimlessly through my feed and not really interact with anyone.
In those moments, I recognized the issue of choosing to be present. When I was distracted, I was choosing to not pay attention to the person or situation right in front of me.
Not only did this lead me to miss out on things going on around me, but it also taught me an important fact of communication.
Regardless of the form, whether it is a phone call, Facebook message or face-to-face conversation, communication always involves two people.
Just like when I don’t always reply to a message or call, anytime when something comes between the two people communicating, it causes interference.
I have learned that in order to make the most out of a conversation, or any interaction for that matter, I have to choose to put down my phone and listen.
Physically giving my attention to others shows people that I care about what they have to say. It is a sign of respect that can’t be given any other way than looking someone in the eye and listening.
The problem of the smartphone isn’t that I’m distracted constantly. Rather, I need to have the self-control to put the phone down and take the time to communicate and interact with the people and world around me.