The smartphone debate: trading constant connection for peace of mind

(PHOTO/ Olivia Daly)
(PHOTO/ Olivia Daly)
Bethany Davis, a senior communication major from Brantley; Kyle Shook, a sophomore broadcast journalism major from Pike Road; Shelby Williamson, a junior Spanish major from Chelsea; and Jenna Viets, a junior communication major from Dothan, gathered on their cellphones.
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrmailFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblrmail


Taylor Boydstun

Variety Editor

After warring with myself for over a year, I finally took the leap from a smartphone to a “dumb” phone in early January of this year. I had long been aware of the negative effects of ever-present social media, but I couldn’t quite commit to making the cut.

During the last few months of owning an iPhone, I would constantly find myself deleting apps to focus on things that matter, such as my schoolwork or face-to-face conversations. This was a short-term solution, however, as I inevitably reinstalled the same apps after a few days without them.

Don’t get me wrong—I am an extraverted conversationalist, majoring in communication with a minor in journalism. I love communicating with people. So why would someone like myself take this plunge?

As a Christian, I was convicted by a familiar Bible passage to reconsider the things I was giving my attention to through various forms of social media.

The apostle Paul writes in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”

While I acknowledge there are plenty of things on social media that fit these qualifications, there is a pervasive amount of their antitheses.

Beyond quality of content, the overwhelming amount of content often left me distracted in conversation and shallow in thought by filling my mind with countless blogs or memes that hold minute relevance to the real world.

I think everyone can relate to being irritated by someone who is distractedly scrolling on his or her phone during a conversation.

The reality that we often seem to forget is that there’s more to life than what can be consumed through a screen. There is beauty in the simple act of being fully present to your surroundings.

Had I been staring at my phone, I would have missed my family’s laughter when visiting home, neglected meaningful face-to-face conversation with friends and been more focused on the potential for an Instagram post than simply enjoying my day at the beach.

I can confidently say that after three months of not having a smartphone, my mind is purer, my interpersonal relationships have improved, and I am less stressed.