Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Cell Phones - My Personal Rant


This is my rant.  Everyone is free (and welcome) to disagree with me.  I just don't understand the appeal of an iphone or its equivalents.

I own a cell phone.  For the longest time, I didn't want one.  I hate talking on the phone.  I would much rather communicate face to face with people.  Then I can see their expressions and get a better idea of what they are meaning to say and not just saying.  I try to intuitively grasp what people are feeling, and I think I'm getting better at it.  I can usually tell when someone is upset, annoyed, or happy.  So getting a cell phone was a big step for me when I went to college.

When I finally did get a phone, I got a trac phone because I didn't use it very much, so I figured why pay for what I wasn't using.  I would text occasionally, but honestly I dislike texting even more than talking on the phone.  If it is hard to understand what people mean when they talk, how much worse is it when they just write.  (And it takes sooooo long!)  Sarcasm is very difficult to catch when people are texting.  I don't know how many times people have been accidently offended by a text that was meant innocently, but personally, I would sometimes read texts and wonder, "What exactly do they mean by that?"

Generally, I try to assume that people aren't trying to deliberately be offensive.  I usually assume that people don't walk around trying to hurt other's feelings.  This mindset usually prevents me from becoming offended over little things.  However, it is difficult to get a text and not wonder about the meaning behind what people write.  Voice intonations can tell you a lot.  A few words tells you very little.

I am now on a Sprint plan.  I like it.  It serves me well.  I just don't get why everyone has such newfangled, fancy phones.  My phone does three things:  takes pictures, texts, and calls people.  That's it.  There's no internet access, no movie capabilities, and to be honest, the picture it takes are junk.  The pixelation's horrible.  Really though, do I need anything else?

I have a computer.  I get on the internet there.  I have a camera that takes pretty decent pictures.  I have a phone that calls people, when I remember to bring it with me.  My phone does what I need it to do and usually has great service.  In emergencies it has been quite handy.

It's hard enough for me to limit my internet intake without having it in my pocket all the time.  I want to spend time with my husband and son, but the world is becoming technology crazy.  At the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah they actually have addiction classes to help people overcome their addictions to their cellphones.  Missionaries aren't allowed to have cellphones in the MTC, but some of them are so mentally addicted to their phones that they literally cannot live without them.  Someone the other day told me about how their kid was getting ghost-texts.  They said that this meant that they would feel the phone vibrating in their pocket when there wasn't even a phone there!

I have my own 'addictions.'  They aren't drugs or anything, but I do love my laptop.  I like the internet, and I love youtube.  My husband and I can watch animal documentaries on there for a long time.  However, I think I would be fine if I could never get on the internet again.  I certainly wouldn't miss my phone, as long as I was close to family.  I do appreciate that there is a way to communicate with those I love when they are far away.  I actually prefer skyping, because then Kevin can actually see them (as long as the connection is good.)

Anyway, I feel like we are too dependent on technology in general.  I think as a culture, we've lost a lot of good manners about when phones should be used.  Who hasn't been annoyed when you're trying to talk to someone, and they keep looking at their phone?  I'm probably as bad as anybody, but I'm trying to put away the technology and spend more time with my husband out in nature, away from distractions.

If we all did that, would there be so much violence?  If we actually got to know our neighbors and went outside at night and spent time with those in our neighborhoods and with our families without any distractions, wouldn't we feel safer knowing that those around us had our backs?  Wouldn't it be nice to know that the people next door are good people, and our children are safe outside?

On the other hand, I see three-year-old children that know how to use their parents' phones with proficiency.  I sometimes wonder if I shouldn't get a fancy phone just so Kevin isn't technologically behind.  Technology is bound to keep improving, and if I don't stay up-to-date, I may be doing him a disservice.  So, how does that fit into my rant?  I don't know.

Please don't be offended by this rant.  I'm speaking in geralized terms, and I know not everyone is addicted to their cellphones.  However, try paying attention to how many times you check it in an hour.  You might be surprised.

So, I guess next time you are spending time with someone you love, put away the distractions for a couple hours, look them in the face, and listen.  Who knows?  You might actually enjoy it.


  1. Ha! I could have written this post.... five years ago.... I will admit, having a smart phone has helped with the stuff I have to do as a writer (marketing) and with my calling. For me, I do struggle to understand interactions but I am a writer. I have a hard time processing auditory information and seeing something written down is a lot easier for me to interpret/interact with and be confident I know I'm coming across well and correctly interpreting what others are saying. So... facebook for instance, has improved my relationships with family, old friends, and helped me feel more comfortable in the initial stages of making new ones. .... but. Here's a post I did about 8 years ago. http://tenlists.blogspot.com/2005/06/top-ten-ways-that-technology-has-made.html

  2. Your phone is more high tech than mine! I can't even take pictures. I agree. Hubby and I have talked about it, and we prefer not to have those gadgets and internet with us at all times, because otherwise, we're not going to be involved in the real world when we leave home. It's making a conscious effort not to seem like a robot when in a public situation.

  3. I agree with a lot of this. However, I got an iPhone about six months ago after years of having a simple phone that could only call people, send texts and take pictures — and it has made my life so much easier. With my job in marketing, I have to constantly be checking work email and ensuring that our social media networks don't get hacked and keeping an eye on posts there. It has also come in handy when I'm lost (which happens frequently) and I need to quickly find directions online.

    However, I think that you can limit the time you spend with your phone. I never bring my phone to church, for example, because it bothers me when people surf the internet or play games during sacrament meeting. I keep my phone in my pocket during family events, and I limit myself to how often I can check email. I don't have any games on my phone, and I use it primarily as a computer when I'm away from home or the office.

    As for your other point about wanting your son to not be out of the loop, it actually really bothers me when three-year-olds know their way around a smartphone or a tablet better than I do. I think it's dangerous to hand your kid a phone or computer and let them play with it for hours. I've already told my husband that our kids are not going to play with our phones or our tablet and that we will be buying blocks and legos for them to play with instead. Too many parents don't limit their kids' screen time, and I think it hurts them when they don't have interaction with other kids or learn to build and imagine things on their own.

    Sorry for the enormous comment. As you can tell, I have some strong opinions on this subject. :)

    1. No! Please feel free to comment. It makes me happy. Yeah, people texting at church really annoys me too. We prefer interacting with our son too, though he does like to watch dogs on youtube. We try to limit how much that happens. I think the main point is moderation, like you said. There is nothing evil about an iPhone, but when it become a greater influence in our homes than other, more important things, that's when people need to take a step back.