The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Technology woes: cell phones

“I’m nothing without my cell phone.”

Those words left my mouth for the first time this weekend when, in a brief moment of horror, I couldn’t find my phone. After a few minutes of frantically searching through any and every place I may have left my phone, I found it in my coat pocket.

I got my first cell phone about six months ago. Yeah, I’m that lame. It’s just a dinky little prepaid phone from Walmart or some such place, but I love it and would be completely
lost without it.

I’m constantly checking to make sure I don’t have any missed texts.

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I’m also apparently prone to sending texts that I later regret. If you ever get a nonsensical and angry text from me at four in the morning, I’m really sorry. But, it’s not my fault! Cell phones are just way too easy. All you have to do is push a button. There’s not too much thinking behind pushing a button.

With the lack of thinking, is this super easy technology changing us? I’m pretty sure it’s changed me.

We’re a generation raised on cell phones and it shows. We have everything we’d ever need in the palm of our hands. Internet, alarm clock, calendar; it’s all there. It’s hard to ignore the allure of the laziness that comes along with cell phones.

While I have an actual alarm clock, sometimes I use the alarm on my phone when I try to steal a quick nap between classes. I know people who use their phones as an alarm all the time.

People walk around with their eyes glued to their phones, so engaged in their texting that they can’t even look up to see that they’re about to run into someone.
Young people must be missing out on their surroundings. And not just the sort of surroundings that involve almost colliding with someone, but something a little more important than that.

With the rise of television, young Americans shifted away from caring about politics and current events. Everyone was just too busy staring at their TVs, a habit that’s gotten even worse as the years go on. Since then, there has been a dramatic decline in the number of college aged adults who read the newspaper or keep up with news at all. Real world troubles became less important than the troubles on the TV.

If television made us care less about the world around us, it’s logical to think that cell phones would have a similar negative effect on us.

Not to mention that cell phones also make us more individualistic. We no longer crave as much direct human contact as generations before us because all the people we really need are in our lists of contacts.

As Robert Putnam discusses in his book Bowling Alone (a book I’ve either had to read or heard mentioned in three or four of the political science classes that I’ve taken), Americans have become less connected to their families and communities and technology is partially to blame.

If people aren’t involved in their communities, Putnam argued, people aren’t as involved in political and other newsworthy events, and are therefore endangering our democracy.

Now, with kids starting off with cell phones at eight years old, it’s kind of scary to think how much they’ll be missing out on when they’ve reached college.

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Technology woes: cell phones