By Megan Palumbo, Cristina Serratore & Claire Crittendon – Co-Editor-in-Chief & 1851 Staff
I was standing by the toaster waiting for my bagel when I tried making light conversation with the girl next to me, who was also waiting for toast. I mentioned how brave she was to be wearing Birkenstocks in 10 degree weather…but the conversation did not move past this. She didn’t even acknowledge that I was talking to her. The girl’s head was buried in her phone, unaware that I was two feet away talking and looking at her directly. It was in this moment that I became disappointed and at out annoyed with how disengaged college students have become, thanks to the trance their technologies send them into.
Since this incident, I’ve been observant of my surroundings to see how often our phones and computers dominate our lives. On Lasell’s campus it’s normal to see people scrolling through Face- book videos or online shopping in class, texting while walking down the stairs, posting Instagram stories in the dining hall, and even taking calls while a professor is in the middle of a lecture.
These days, our phones and computers have become a part of our identity. But when does too much connectivity become unhealthy? I don’t think there are any boundaries with using technology, and even if there were, it would be hard for students to power down. A recent study conducted by “The Post Athens” looked at 50 Ohio college students and found they spent an average of four hours and 25 minutes a day on their phones, while nearly half of that time on social media.
Being connected is becoming a huge distraction in addition to being a college student and can lead to falling behind in class, a higher rate of feeling depressed or that your life isn’t picture perfect, and most common: lack of sleep.
Luckily, there are of easy ways to prevent your phone from becoming a distraction. I don’t like to turn my phone off, but I do turn my push notifications off. Unless somebody tries to contact me directly by calling or through a messaging app, I don’t get any notifications on my lock screen or even on the banner at the top of the screen.
iPhones have two nifty settings that can reduce the distraction drastically. Screen Time tracks your mobile usage and how much time you spend collectively on your device, breaking it down by each app. After every week it sends a notification with the usage report. Additionally, there’s a color filter setting to grayscale your screen display, making notifications and app content unappealing.
Of course, there are times when you can’t ignore a text or let a call go to voicemail. In urgent cases, do your professor and fellow students a favor and step outside of the room to take the call.
Almost everyone is completely absorbed in their phone. Headphones in, attention focused solely on the screen in front of them. We’ve come to acknowledge this as the norm, and no one seems to question why we tune out our peers almost automatically for those few minutes. Next time you sit down before class, take a moment and look around to observe this for yourself. Are you guilty of tuning out reality?