Have you ever made the mistake of leaving your cell phone in your room, stopping midway to class and panicking as you check your pockets frantically? Most would shamefully admit to risking being late to class just to turn around and get their phones. Others proclaim they continue their journey to class, only tuning out every word their professor says, thinking about the text or call they are missing. How addicted are you?
Technology in the 21st century has taken over our everyday lives with computers, navigation systems, IPods and, of course, cell phones. Millenials are often criticized by older generations for being too reliant on technology, primarily the cell phone. When cell phones first became a major part of our everyday lives, it was a basic devise used for communicating via phone call or text message. Phone companies were in constant competition for the best “shiny new toy.” The Razor flip phone seemed to be the rising star of cell phones, complete with a camera and available in different colors. However in recent years a new age of cell phones were released: Smart Phones. Among the Smart Phones, the iPhone became reigning king. Once Smart Phones came into a play, cell phones took on a different role, no longer only a communication device but endless access to the internet, social media, e-mail and a world of applications, became attainable within the touch of a button and so the phenomenon grows.
The argument as to whether cell phones do more harm than good can go on forever, depending on who you talk to and, probably, the generation they associate with. However, certain pros and cons cannot be denied. Smart phones provide data plans which make it easy to access the internet without rushing to the computer lab to check the e-mail response from your professor about a question on the homework. There is also that inevitable moment when you need a quick definition or answer to everyday life questions and Google or AskJeeves saves your life. It is quite obvious why smart phones have made such a big impact in peoples’ lives. Even the members of Generation Z, mostly grade school students, have cell phones which can provide immediate communication for help in case of emergencies. iPhone applications are continuously growing. With a simple download you can check your bank statements, pay bills and check local news and weather.
Despite the positive aspects of cell phones, many argue the convenience of technology has taken a negative toll on the Millenial generation. Some proclaim technology has amplified this fast paced society to be even quicker, causing millenials to expect things now, inhibiting patience and the morals of hard work. Cell phones, in some cases, encourage the easy way out. At any moment, place or time, you can Google your answer or spark note quotes from the book you need to read, instead of going to the library and doing research. Social media, just as it grows in popularity, grows as a constant distraction for many students. “I definitely check my Facebook for at least 20 minutes before I start my work,” Stephen Nixon, a sophomore, admittedly laughs, when I asked if he thinks social media contributes to procrastination. Not only does it contribute to procrastination but many teachers would agree that applications for Twitter and Facebook take priority over the current lecture being taught.
Service providers are in constant competition with data and minute plans, phone technology, and of course whose service is better. Whether you’re “Team iPhone” or “Team Blackberry,” the obsession is clear, cell phones have indeed changed communication, amongst others things, in the lives of today’s youth. The next time you walk through Anderson or Sykes, take a peek around and survey how many people are completely unaware of what’s going on because they are engrossed in their mobile device and then ask yourself, “How addicted am I”?
Asia James is a fourth-year student majoring in professional studies with minors in journalism and theater. She can be reached at AJ651589@wcupa.edu.