Over the past year, I have survived- fully functional- without the aid of the modern-day ‘iPhone'. I have made friends, engaged in healthy social interaction, and largely missed out on absolutely nothing in my life because of this quote-unquote detriment. I have still been able to participate in nearly every aspect of my life, from school to my social life in a fairly normal way. The only part that I have missed, in my opinion, is the normalcy of being a teenager in this fine, unholy mess of the present day. The world has evolved, as everyone who reads this is surely aware, in a way that has sewn phones into the fabric of our lives in a deep, irreparable way. We suffer without them- Or at least we think we do. From the moment we wake up to the moment we lay our heads on our pillows, they are in our hands and influencing us, movement-to-movement. They wake us up for work and school every morning and ceaselessly pester us throughout the day- “Wanna go out for lunch?” a message may read. “There's a party this weekend! You should come!” another may offer. ‘Three new likes on your post.' ‘Four new comments on your post.' When you see the situation laid out in front of you this way, it may seem like nothing more than an unhealthy obsession we humans have created for ourselves, and that it is- for some people. We cannot neglect the fact that, through technology, we have infinitely eased some of our daily life hassles. We have additionally greatly improved the safety of our world in many ways, too. Without phones, you would not be able to quickly message your parent and ask who's picking you up from school. You would not be able to quickly check your bank account so as not to spend more money than you have. You would not be able to shoot your boss a message, letting her know you're too sick to come in this morning. I've made my case in support of phones, but I have yet to acknowledge their dangers. Not having a phone, and therefore experiencing these minor inconveniences, was one-hundred-percent a result of my own choices. I had repeatedly made mistakes- And when I was given grace, I made the same mistakes again. I will not use a phone incorrectly moving forward. I couldn't, knowing the damage it can, and has, caused. I am not willing to ruin my own life- To burn before I've even gotten off the ground. I will not engage in online interaction with people I don't know. Stranger Danger is a phrase we have been teaching our children for years- But the only real danger is when that stranger is behind a screen. The term ‘stranger' even extends to include people you've met in real life before, but don't really know. I will not send messages or images that are in any way considered inappropriate or could be held against me in the event the person I once felt comfortable and trusting in decides to turn against me. I never felt like this was a real thing that could happen to me, but I am now very aware that it's not such an uncommon thing to experience. I will not send secretive and malicious messages that are worthy of hiding. The phone is meant for communication, sure, but only the positive and polite kind. I must be honest with what I say through the phone, and be careful of the way the things I say may come across. I will not interact with the dangerous- Frankly even deadly- world of social media. Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook are a breeding ground for hate speech, cyberbullying, and life-ruining miscommunications. I am, quite possibly, the most aware of the dangers of technology due to the massive impacts it has had on my life. As a member of the first generation to be unable to remember a time without the internet, we have had these phones in our hands and in our lives since we were born. I personally have come to be alright without having a phone- Grateful, even- Until fairly recently. I desire the functional, organizational tool that is a cell phone. As someone who now has a job, a bank account, and very well may be using the, admittedly sketchy, Indianapolis public transit every day to get to and from school, having a phone displays obvious benefits. The only way I can properly use these aforementioned benefits is when I am very cautious not to abuse them. I would like to be able to reach my parents when I arrive at school in the morning. I would like to be able to get messages from my manager when she needs me to work extra days one week. I would like to be able to check my account balance before I buy those Chick-Fil-A fries at lunch and dip into the negative. I would like to be able to talk to and call Lindsey and Kaikeyi and the rest of them when I am not physically with them, especially Kristi who lives far away. I would like to take beautiful pictures of my art, makeup, and cosplays, and friends when people ask to see them. I would like to use a phone as a business tool to further the reach of my commissions. And finally, I would like your trust, even on days when it's hard. I would like nothing more.
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