Captive to a ‘little box’

Rappahannock student says cellphones destroy social skills, real conversation

By Ava Genho

Phone. The word itself has had multiple meanings throughout time. One dictionary defines a phone as “a portable electronic telephone device, as a cell phone, mobile phone, or smartphone.” When the “e” is replaced by a “y,” it becomes “phony,” which means not genuine and fake.

Perhaps phone is best defined as a mix of the two.

Nowadays, pocket cell phones are present in most any social setting. Countless arguments have been fought over the pros and cons of the modern phone. How is it possible that millions of tiny black rectangles have created worldwide controversy?

I do not have a cell phone, although I did own one for nearly a year in 2014. During that time, I experienced many nights when I stayed on my phone late and often resorted to surfing the web instead of playing outside. When my phone was destroyed by a spilled water bottle, I was horrified, until I realized I was no longer captive to that little box.

Phone-free, I now watch many of my peers hyper attentive to every sound from their devices. With social media added to the picture, I witness numerous middle schoolers with phony lives created on their phones. In a class discussion, I understood that my friends do realize that they lose sleep from buzzes and beeps, worry constantly about who liked whose picture, but can’t give up what they have because of how they will be viewed by their peers.

The ways phones are used have destroyed many social skills that were crucial twenty or thirty years ago. Why do millennials and younger generations need to talk to other people when they can just text and receive answers instantly? A simple text has become the replacement for a respectful, real conversation. I believe that we as people may soon lose our communication and teamwork skills if we continue to progress this way.

Solely from reading the above paragraphs, one might conclude that phones are horrible, controlling electronics. Although this may apply to several ways they are used, phones have helped make our lives better in many ways. Instead of mailing a handwritten letter, taking days and much effort, long distance friends may shoot each other a quick text. When children are away from home, they can contact their parents for reassurance or guidance with the click of a button. Organization at crowded events is much easier due, yet again, to phones. They are an amazing tool that has helped us considerably in this day and age. It is when phones overtake our lives that they destroy us instead of building us up.

So, the final question is do the pros outweigh the cons? Is it worth having constant worry and deprived sleep for the sake of an easier life? Or is it possible for us to find the perfect balance in between controlled and in control, and live in harmony with these robotic rulers?

Ava Genho is an eighth-grader at Rappahannock County High School

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