Cellphones limit interaction between peers


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When was the last time you picked up your cellphone? It probably was a second ago, correct? Almost all of us agree with this. After all, cellphones form the basis for how we communicate, whether it is through text messages, video chat or email. Regardless of how we use our cellphones, the cellphone epidemic has been a long-lasting one, which has students across campus glued to their phones.

I have witnessed this across campus. Students cannot lift up their heads; they simply text away, glued to the bright screens with no regard to looking where they are walking. This is largely due to the amount of urgency associated with a call, text or tweet. As college students, we often must rely on what is conveyed to us by social media. Our phones are a necessary devices that allow us to communicate with people across the globe.

Although we all look at our cellphones, think about the last time that you interacted with someone face-to-face. As young people, we often believe that texting is the best way to communicate; however, sometimes, I question this.

We can replace texting across campus by sitting down and engaging in casual conversation. There are many places where we can do this; the Student Union is an example. Consider ordering food with your friends at Chuck & Augie’s. You can actually talk to your friend face-to-face and laugh (rather than typing LOL on iMessage). By doing this, you are engaging in face-to-face communication and are not behind a screen 24/7.

Part of being on a college campus is exploring and interacting with different people. Across campus, we meet new people each day, one of the benefits of joining a large campus community; however, our cellphones can limit our ability to meet new people and expand our network of friends. We simply believe that all of our contacts are in our phones.

Cellphones can also distract us when learning. Think about what happens when we enter a large lecture, filled with more than two hundred students. It is often difficult to focus on the content of a lecture when our phones keep vibrating. We are addicted to constantly checking them even though we may not receive a notification. Although this sometimes may not be distracting, we often overlook the moments that we waste checking our phones. If we manage to use our phones less, that will ensure that we remain focused during lectures.

There are many ways a student can avoid using his or her cellphone. One of the popular apps used around campus is Pocket Points. The app rewards students for not using their phones during class. The application is very intuitive to use. You simply open the app and lock your phone. Then the magic happens. You can watch rewards add up if you have been a good participant. Points can be redeemed for coupons to use at local eateries. Through rewards, this app promotes students to reduce the use of their phones.

As college students, it is necessary to socialize with our peers on a personal level. The cellphone epidemic is stopping this from happening. At one stage in our lives, positive interaction was key to promoting our development. Yet when we do not interact with each other face-to-face, we do not get to experience first-hand interaction, which is an important skill to gain.

Although the cellphone epidemic is hard to control, we can support each other to limit obsessive cellphone use. Consider approaching a friend and talking to him or her, or challenging your friend to see how long you can stand without using your phone. While these techniques may not seem important, they will ensure that we lead lives led by interpersonal development and face-to-face interaction, creating positive relationships as a result.

Anusha Kumar is a contributor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at anusha.kumar@uconn.edu

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