I have one of the most love-hate relationships with my phone ever, particularly because I find it to be a distraction, cause problems, “corrupt” your mind, and brainwash you, even. Although I have a strong annoyance and frustration with my phone, ironically, I have a lot of appreciation for it, too. I believe the phone, itself, is not the problem – we are. We allow ourselves to become addicted and consumed to the point of corruption, even though the use of phones and overall invention of it is quite remarkable.
Since I am over 1,500 miles away from home, having my phone by my side every second of the day is necessary, sadly. I use it to communicate with my friends and family, which, ironically, is through social media and displayed for the world to see. For example, Facebook is the main source of social media my parents like to use, whether that be through Facebook messenger to send me morning texts that consist of daily motivational quotes or shared videos and posts from others on my profile but either way, I despise their interest in the site and wish they would stick to traditional texts and calls; it’s funny how older people are slowly finding more enjoyment in social medias than some younger people. Without the connection of my friends and family, I believe I wouldn’t even have a Facebook, let alone Instagram and Snapchat. Even though I have these social media accounts, I never post anything and if I do, it’s because I want others to see what I'm up to and what’s going on in my life, as if they would genuinely care. An example of this would be my last post on Instagram, I posted a picture of me playing tennis in September simply because I didn’t post months prior to that and wanted to “fit in” with society and not seem like my life wasn’t as interesting as others–seeing some people post vacation, date, and family photos make me feel as though my life is less important or fascinating, in a way. This mindset is exactly why I despise all forms of social media because of the image it portrays on others and societies.
Growing up, I was raised in a very religious household with strict parents–part of the reason why I chose a college 1,500 miles away from home. I was always taught to never allow others' opinion and thoughts toward or about you affect the way you treat yourself or live your life, however, look at how I am now. Although I hate social media and the way others pretend to have fascinating, joyful lives, I continue to use it and fall into the exact same trap. Even though I preach about its toxicity and how it can quite literally corrupt you and your mind, I remain on these sites and allow the opinion of others to take part in what I post but also when I post. There was a time in high school where I deleted all social media accounts, not just deactivated but fully deleted. This was a time of complete acceptance for me and focus of the world and the people in it. I went over a year without any social media platforms, however, eventually made other accounts again simply because I felt I wasn’t involved with others and was portrayed as weird, almost, for not having or wanting to be involved with the internet world. To this day, I still have these accounts that I remade in high school and find very little comfort in having them but sadly, don’t have it in me to delete them.
As for my phone, in general, I feel the same in the sense that it can corrupt your mind and be something of a huge distraction from the world and the relationships you have with others. Although I don’t like texting, I enjoy calling and Face Timing people because of the verbal or face-to-face interaction it brings. As there are a few positive things cell phones can do, I think overall, it does more harm to the younger generation than the older ones. My younger brothers range from ages 8-17 and all of them are obsessed with their phones and social media. My 17-year-old brother is not as consumed with his phone as the other 2, however, his daily use of social media ranges anywhere from 6 hours to 8. My eight-year-old brother could never dream about letting his phone die or not post something on Snapchat every day. When I was younger, I didn’t get my first phone until I was 12 entering middle school but even then, it was a flip phone that barely had a camera. Back then, I used this to call my friends and have a way of connecting with my parents after school for them knowing where to pick me up, never anything relating to social media or even games, for that matter. Seeing my younger brothers be consumed with their phones makes me sad, in a way, because I know their childhood could be filled with so much more of the world and simply, being outside. Riding their bikes or playing soccer in the backyard takes loads of convincing and when they do finally give in, they genuinely don’t enjoy it and would much rather waste time and energy on the couch sitting in front of a screen.
Overall, yes, my cell phone has played an important role in my life while being away at college, however, I wouldn’t say that it is something I appreciate or admire. I am thankful that it gives me a way of communicating with my family and friends from home but hate that it has the power of controlling you and your life–often, it’s a struggle to not allow it to take hold of me, especially in boredom. Social media will always be toxic in my perception because I know the harm it does on others, whether we admit it or not. I see the effect it plays on all generations, yet wonder why I continue to use it and be a part of it. I believe both social media and cell phones are not toxic in of itself but that overall, we allowed them to be, giving me nothing but shame and hatred for them both, even with the few positive, contributing factors it can play on my life and others.
By Kailey Reyes