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How Much Do We Truly Rely on Our Smartphones?

If you would have asked me how much I relied on my smartphone, I would have told you a lot but that I could do without it. Sometimes it is nice to turn the phone off for a day and focus on your family and your household. The constant buzzing or ringing can drive someone insane, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t think that texting back sometimes can be a royal pain in the behind. Sometimes I don’t want to communicate, I solely want to pin on Pinterest for hours. 

If you sit down and think about what you use your phone for, you may realize you hold more trust and accountability into it than you think. Think about the apps you use daily. Think about the times you use your phone the most. I challenge you to leave your smartphone at home for a single day and go out on a weekend and do the things you would normally do on a weekend. One day is all it will take. Trust me. I do not want to be responsible for anyone’s outrage at the fact that they haven’t used their phone in 12 hours or so.

I got to experience what it was like without my phone Sunday when I ran into problems with both Apple and Verizon. I am not well rehearsed on the Indianapolis area. I can get around Greenwood and Southport pretty well on my own, but when it came to getting to the Fashion Mall at Keystone to visit the Apple Store, I needed Google Maps to tell me how to get there. It is pretty simple, yes, but when you do not know the area, using Google Maps or Apple Maps on your phone comes in handy more than you realize. Upon leaving the Apple Store with a new phone, I was instructed to visit Verizon once the phone showed activation issues. I had a new phone (which was the reason I was there to begin with) but it was not activated. I won’t lie. I’m pretty bad with directions, and while I could have explored the area to find a Verizon store closer on 82nd Street, I did not want to risk getting completely lost and not having my trusty map. I’m like Dora the Explorer, ok?! I can explore as much as I want, just as long as I have my map. 

Since I am a frequent visitor to the Verizon store in Greenwood, that is the only location I knew of that was closer than Columbus. So I made my trek down to Greenwood. Since I had to head that way to Columbus to pick Blake up anyways, it was not a drastic detour or anything. I got there and left after being instructed that it was an Apple issue (it only ended up needing activated using iTunes). Once again, I had a phone that served me no purpose as it was still not activated. Across the street from the Verizon store is the Greenwood Mall and Barnes and Nobles (I promise, I’m going somewhere with this). I am not a frequent B & N visitor, but Blake likes a certain series of books and I cannot find them to save my life. I remembered the B&N has a Starbucks. It didn’t take long for my excitement to be destroyed by the fact that I did not have my phone, which contains my Starbucks card on the Starbucks app. And what good is a Starbucks purchase if you aren’t even going to get stars for it?! 

Not having my phone drove me UP THE WALL! I could not purchase Starbucks, I could not call my grandparents to notify them of the delay (I usually pick Blake up in the late afternoon. It was almost 5pm by the time I left B&N), I could not even get a hold of Tyson to see how his evening was going. I then began to panic realizing that if my car broke down, I could not even contact my Roadside Assistance because I didn’t have my phone and I didn’t have the app. Not only that, but I couldn’t make any calls outside of 911, and I don’t think they service flat tires or automobile malfunctions.

The point is, until I was forced to be out in the world without my cell phone, I had no idea just how much I relied on it. Cell phones have taken over our lives and have babied us with convenience. Am I complaining? Heck no. I like being able to order pizza with an app and not have to talk to anyone. I can monitor my March Madness bracket, manage my bank account (which I’m really bad at d0ing so if anyone wants to be my financial advisor for free, call me), pay bills, order food, go shopping, all from the convenience of my bed couch. Also, if I could not access Pinterest from my phone, Tyson would starve. That is a proven fact. He would be forced to live off of his baked bean/BBQ/hot dog concoction, which I promise is not suitable or consumable for anyone.

How do we revert this dependance? How do we slowly ween ourselves off of that dependance we have on our cell phones. I will say that relying on my phone keeps my wallet thin, as I don’t have to carry around all of my gift cards and loyalty/reward cards. I have grown to realize a lot of us don’t rely on our phone as a necessity as much as we rely on it as a convenience. Sometimes we need to remember to shut our phones off and carry on with our day, maybe even our weekend. I remember the days when my parents would take us out camping or trail riding on ATVs and I didn’t have a cell phone to bury my face in. Take in the gorgeous weather, and spend some time enjoying the nature. Spend time with your family. One of these days everyone will age and either move on with life and grow up, or grow old and pass on. Family is precious. I would rather have memories of Blake playing t-ball or playing with his grandparents than memories of always having my face buried in my phone.

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