Smartphones are cool, convenient and plain necessary tools for some people. The day will come when I will have to get one as well and say goodbye to my trusty old mobile, but not quite yet. The connection to the internet on-the-go gives you everything anywhere at any time. You want to check something? Read your e-mails? Watch a video? Share a photo? Just whip out your smartphone and it’s done. Just be careful that you don’t run into someone while staring at the screen, though…
And that is one of the issues I have with these “evil” gadgets: When you are on your smartphone you are mentally somewhere else – you are not fully where you physically are. In a way that’s quite scary, because you could be in an exciting new city, but most of the time you are on your phone, meaning you can’t appreciate what’s going on around you, as your smartphone is luring your mind somewhere else. I always find it sad that we don’t spend more time in the „now“ and our lives in this digital age are increasingly controlled by our electronic devices.
We all like to distract ourselves. I like to watch something on the go or kill some time while waiting. But sometimes I feel that smartphones also take a huge portion of the time away we would otherwise be spending with our friends, people we like, doing things we like, seeing places we like. To have everything at your fingertip is sometimes just too convenient.
Of course smartphones also have incredibly useful features, like interactive maps, train or bus times, being able to quickly check for the contact details you didn’t write down or their plain use as camera and audio recording device. I definitely get why they are popular and why I will probably have to get one soon, but I’m not ready to give up my peace and quiet just yet. I know that I’m a little behind, but for now I love my little calls-and-texts-only phone. For everything else I have my computer. To be honest I need my time away from the computer. And I feel like a smartphone would take that away completely, being a little computer surrogate while you are travelling from one laptop to the other. Being available anytime and anywhere doesn’t just have benefits, in my opinion.
Of course I will “fall into the trap” and once it’s there I’ll use it. But I’m afraid it will alter my life. I don’t subscribe to the ideal of living my life on the fast lane… Some things take time. Sometimes you just have to wait. And that’s just a part of our lives. The sheer mass of information our brains have to process every day is enormous and as we feel we are getting smarter, as we can check any trivia fact online within seconds of asking a question, we actually retain less and less of what we see. What’s more I believe that all those tiny insignificant details we consume each day clog up our memory and take space away for important information. Our attention spans grow shorter and we get bored or inattentive much sooner. The internet itself is doing a great job here, but I’m convinced the smartphone is contributing a huge deal. No one is really immune and I’m not making a plea against the internet or smartphones as such. But in my opinion we let our habits be ruled by our digital companions and I don’t approve of the fact that they have permeated every part of our modern life and we have grown to be dependent on them.
Our fast paced everyday life makes it necessary for us to be connected and always up-to-date. Of course smartphones are useful and universal helpers and they somehow capture the spirit of our modern world. None of us can really avoid the internet or smartphones if we want to stay in touch and not lose sight of what’s going on around us, but I think we should try and make an effort to enjoy life on its own a lot more – without electronically enhanced features. Especially at the weekend it might be worth going for a walk without your phone and just BE where you are. Do you remember when you were a kid and you discovered so many things in everyday life? We will never go back to that mind-set of course, but try and be open and receptive to the lovely world and lovely people around you. There is so much to see away from the screen!