On the day I spent attempting not to use my phone, the hardest part for me was abstaining from social media. With Instagram being my favorite platform, I thought about pulling out my phone and catching up on what I had missed multiple times throughout the day. My slight boredom that was usually fulfilled by my phone was now very apparent. I knew my lunch hour would be the most difficult time to abstain from my phone. I usually spend this time every day eating and scrolling through various forms of social media all while listening to a podcast or music through headphones. To help myself during this day, I planned to go out to lunch with my boss and coworker. I knew that being with someone else and having face to face interaction would keep me from wanting to be on my phone the entire hour and it seemed to work.
The afternoon proved to be more difficult for me to stay off of my phone. As the end of the work day neared, I wanted to make plans for after work. This is where I gave in and texted. Even though I gave into the temptation of my phone, it was for a specific reason rather than mindless entertainment. The second time I texted while trying not to was also with cause. Just as spending time with people helped me avoid my phone during my lunch, going to bed with someone helped me avoid my phone at night. Most nights I lay in bed texting for at least 15 minutes before turning on Netflix and falling asleep. This night I was able to talk with my boyfriend until my body was tired naturally, and then go to sleep without the noise of a tv show in the background.
While there are a multitude of benefits to an entire society having access to such a powerful technology, there are also many drawbacks. The first of these being how cell phones negatively affect our brain. Having a tiny computer at one’s fingertips has caused minds to become lazy. Before this technology, it was not uncommon to have an address book in one’s mind. The phone numbers of important people were at the tip of one’s tongue whenever need be. Now, one may have just the few most important, if that. Clive Thompson, the Wire writer, explains, “‘I’ve almost given up making an effort to remember anything’ he says, ‘because I can instantly retrieve the information online'” (pg. 180). The power to look up anything one could want to know is a positive effect of technology, but the indolent nature of Americans because of this is not. On the days I tracked my phone usage, I didn’t see this as an obvious problem that I have. There are many things that I admit to not memorizing because I know my phone can assist me when I do need the information handy, but it is not something that I access on a daily basis. An example of this is US history. There is a lot of facts and knowledge that was taught in school that I didn’t retain partially because I know it is not crucial for me to memorize it. On the off chance that I do need to know a fact about history, I know that I am able to look up the information I am looking for on my phone quickly and efficiently. While it is much easier to look up the information rather than memorize it, it has made my mind lazier than if I had taken the effort to know it myself. In addition to the lazy brains of phone users, the technology on cell phones is able to manipulate the brains of users. In Harris’ (2016) article, How Technology is Hijacking Your Mind-from a Magician and Google Design Ethicist, he explains how technology is able to control one’s mind without the user even noticing. The technology that users access on their cell phones and other devices has the power to only show what it wants to show, get people addicted to their specific technology, and accentuate what one is missing out on when they don’t use this technology. These factors combined with the lack of knowledge stored in a user’s brain, proves that the brains of cell phone users are dramatically different that people who do not use this same technology.