Cooper examines her cell phone addiction, tries change


Mt. Pleasant News

Technology has overtaken the world. I mean that literally. Haven?t you seen the way teenagers today ?socially interact?? It?s sickening?with that said, I?m a total hypocrite and didn?t realize it until recently.

You see, Facebook to me is this amazing invention to keep you in touch with family, friends and people you meet in your life. What they don?t tell you is that it sucks you in and makes you dependent upon it. Constantly checking statuses of friends, updating your own status, or even ?creeping? on your friend?s photos.

I started developing this thing called ?envy.? I could feel the little green monster on my shoulder, whispering in my ear ?you don?t have that, or they didn?t invite you to that.? I felt the heat rise in my cheeks and my stomach would clench. This little green monster was right.

The more I became dependent on Facebook, the less time I spent with my actual friends in real life. I found myself (and I noticed they did, too) on Facebook while they were over. I would update my status to include them, hoping to irk someone in the process. I guess it was my way to get ?revenge? because I wasn?t invited to the latest night out on the town.

As I stopped paying attention to my cellphone, I started noticing this trend wasn?t just with me. My friends, as we sat around watching movies, were constantly on their cellphones, texting, Facebooking, and doing whatever else. Their attention was not 100 percent on us (not saying it had to be, but yeah).

I think that was when I realized how much has changed in the world today. Technology and smartphones are changing the way we socially interact. Is that a good thing? In my opinion, no.

I remember when I was younger (yes I?m 28 but smartphones weren?t there when I was in high school); we would sit around bonfires and talk. We actually talked with each other, not through a cellphone.

I honestly remember a night here recently when friends were Facebooking back and forth while sitting in the same room. I?m guilty of doing it, but man, what a reality check when you realize how ignorant that really is. I was losing what I wanted in the first place, time with friends.

Over the years I have developed social anxiety because of that. Working for the newspaper now I have started to overcome it. But when it comes to feelings, I would rather text someone or Facebook someone than talk with them in person. Now, to me, that is a problem. What am I teaching my kids? Will they hide things from me because they were never taught how to talk to their dad or me?

The more I think about what my smartphone and Facebook has done to me and how I see my friends interact, the more I want to get rid of it. I need to learn how to spend time with people and actually talk to them, not check Facebook or my text messages.

My husband even noticed (though he?s guilty too) that during a movie, I check my phone at least 30 times while ?watching.? I?m not sure I?ve honestly sat through an entire movie without checking my phone in the last two years. That?s sad. Then it makes me think of how much time I?ve lost with my kids because of that phone and Facebook. That makes me hurt even more.

So, I have decided to take a hiatus from Facebook and my phone. I?m going to be shutting off my cellphone and taking up a landline at home. For my health, my sanity, my kids, family and friends, it is something that needs to be done.

We have, as a society, become so dependent on technology that we have started using it as a tool to get away from what we crave. We want friends on Facebook, yet we forget they are real people and when we are with them, we don?t give them the attention we should.

But, I do encourage you the next time you go out to eat, or to a movie, football game or whatever, take a second and look around. How many people do you see interacting the old way, with no cellphone in hand, and then look again, is there a cellphone replacing the social time?

It may surprise you what you find out. I know from my own experience, cellphones were more prevalent and well, that?s why I?m making a change for a while. I want to get back to interacting the old way and actually talk to my family and friends when they are there and to stop relying on technology to talk for me.

I will let you know how it goes. I just hope I survive, as I have been pretty dependent on my phone for quite some time. Who knows, maybe I will only make it a couple hours, but at least I tried right?

See you around the community!