Today: May 29, 2024

The iPhone: hero or heroin?

Carissa DuhamelCopy Editor

It’s 6:30 p.m. – your first break for nourishment other than a quick Clif bar from the Bagel Wagon after a full day of classes. You’re headed straight to Conn with no other thought in your mind than macaroni and cheese, wings, and great conversation with your best friends. But when you find your seat beside your companions, your presence is acknowledged by little more than an eye-connectionless ‘Hey’ from just your roommate. Why? Each member of your group is immersed in his or her cell phone for at least the first sixty seconds of your meal before sucking it up and tucking their iPhones into purses and pockets for a torturous half an hour of face-to-face, technology-free interaction.

Sound a bit depressing and detached? Well you’re right, it is, but you’d better get used to it. This all too familiar scene is a common symptom of the widespread epidemic that has been taking over the 21st century: iPhone addiction.

Since the release of the iPhone in 2007, the tiny Snow White bitten apple on its back has landed in the palms of millions of people across the globe, and stayed there. A study by Wikia reported that half of adolescents connect to the digital world through their smartphones for 10 hours per day, and one in four are checking their Twitter and texts within five minutes of waking up, leaving outsiders to wonder whether it is choice or glue that holds together the iPhone and the hand.

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“If I didn’t have my iPhone, I’d be lost,” said junior Brooke Beale, “It’s embarrassing to say, but I rely on it from the moment I wake up. I love my iPhone.”

She has good reason to feel so strongly about her block of silicone and glass; the iPhone is more attentive and supportive than any boyfriend or girlfriend could ever dream to be.

“It does everything for me. It tells me the weather and keeps me up to date with social media, email, my calendar, my life,” gushed Beale.

With hundreds of thousands of apps in existence to help you in everything from finding a five star restaurant to eat at while on the road, to entertaining yourself by defeating zombies with plants, its easy to feel reliant on your Apple cell phone. Especially when you add the eerily comforting component of Siri in the iPhones 4s and 5. A human personification makes the iPhone seem almost like an unfamiliar, Silicon Valley version of a talking teddy bear, and as inseparable from adults as teddies are from four-year-olds.

Though these pacifying amenities may lure you into feeling calmed and contented so long as your best friend the iPhone lays within your arm’s reach, users may notice themselves incapable of enjoying a simple moment or ever feeling satisfied with their current surroundings. Owners of the iPhone that engage in social networks commonly may feel that they are constantly ‘missing out’ on what’s ‘really happening’ as they scroll through endless Instagram pictures of friends or celebrities, seemingly having a better time than they are.

Texting-teens-via-Shutterstock

Furthermore, iPhone users find themselves more and more disengaged with their friends and families, and are only capable of feigning conversation with an occasional glance upwards, or a nod and smile that no one is buying into as actual active listening.

Smartphone owners are even haunted by their phones – a study conducted at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne found that a massive 89 percent of undergraduate students experienced ‘phantom’ phone vibrations from time to time, meaning they imagined their phone vibrated only to find that they had no new notifications. Even without any stimuli from the iPhone, owners dream and will for some to pop up on their screen in the form of a new SnapChat, iMessage, sports or news update.

So as conscious individuals in control of our own consumerism (a debatable label for some of us), we must ask ourselves: are our iPhones our unbelievably convenient digital confidants, personal assistants, jesters, cheat sheets, and resources? Or do they suck the oxygen consuming ‘real’ life out of us and remove us to a purely cerebral existence functional only from behind the soft glow of a glass screen? These are questions only you can answer for yourself. Is your iPhone usage manageable, or is it taking over your life? Are you in denial, or are you really in control? Or is this detached digital existence simply an unavoidable aspect of the new millennia? Suddenly flip phones are starting to look really good again…

1 Comment

  1. Well written article about a very relevant topic. I know many heavily addicted young adults who consider their iphones an extension of their person.

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