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06/08/2020 The Communication Science magazine

The Day I Broke My Smartphone

Could you go a day without your smartphone?


Take a moment to imagine this. You wake up in the morning and look at the time on your phone. You check your notifications but don’t reply to any of them. Then, you fall back into a nap like slumber, thinking about the messages you’ve just seen. You feel anxious that you haven’t replied and wake up again. You unlock your smartphone and let the blue beaming light bore into your eyes. Once you finish replying, you want to sleep again but realise that you actually, are wide awake.

You step out of bed and head to the bathroom to do your business. You’re scrolling through your phone and once you’re done with it, you put some music on and step into the shower.

While this is just the first hour in the morning, take a minute to reflect on what kind of role the smartphone plays throughout your day.

Do you notice how the smartphone acts like a figure of companionship in our lives?

In our busy, everyday lives,  we almost never find the time to distinguish between ourselves and our smartphones. They are attached to the palm of our hand like it was never not there and that brings me to my question: is it possible that a generation in the future can survive without smartphones? Or will there come a time that those few who can will be regarded as heroes?

One fine morning I woke up and saw that my phone was on low battery. In order to prepare for the busy day ahead, I plugged it into the charger and set it on the kitchen top. After making myself some coffee I reached out to the jar of sugar lying next to the phone and accidentally tipped the phone making it fall face first on the floor. The screen was smashed. However, a little bit more intense was the dread building in my gut. Helplessness washed over me. My phone is my connection to people from all over the world. Without it, I felt handicapped and disconnected. Thanks to my extensive media education, I realised that I had underestimated my dependency on a machine by a mile.

Next time you enter a metro or the elevator, take 2 seconds to look up from your phone and notice how people present around you are looking down at their phone. Their physical presence would be incongruent with their mental presence.

Most of us encounter articles, videos and news about this very same topic in our daily lives. But i believe that this phenomena has reached a certain point where there is no looking back, especially, in regards to the upcoming generation.

Will the iPod of our generation be smartphone for the next one?

So, I insist, break away from your phone for a day and realise that the smartphone has been controlling you and your choices instead of it being the other way around. Take the time and effort for cognitive dissonance because you do not want your kids demanding for a phone at the age of 5, only to get them so invested that they lose their sense of self in a virtual reality. It may sound dramatic at this very moment but it is important to realise and act upon the fact that what is optional today may become mandatory tomorrow; all before we can undo it.

Cover: rawpixel.com / Final editor:Erica Boyce

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