There is no doubt that today’s society revolves around technology like smartphones and social media; this is something we’ve been aware of for a while. But are we aware of how this technology is steadily consuming us?
This past August, YouTube released a video entitled “I Forgot My Phone.” The humorous short film, directed by Miles Crawford, depicts the influence of smartphone overuse on society.
The film begins with a couple laying in bed, having just woken up. The girlfriend, played by Charlene deGuzman, has her arms around her boyfriend while he checks his smartphone. The video then skips to later in the morning. deGuzman is shown preparing for a run. In the background, her boyfriend is talking on his cell phone. deGuzman appears to be waiting on him, annoyed.
The film then goes on to show the audience a montage of different social situations ruined by smartphone use. These events are all viewed by deGuzman living out her day.
The montage starts with deGuzman at lunch with her friends. She appears to be telling a story, but none of her friends are listening due to being on their smartphones.
The situations in the film also call out a younger generation influenced by smartphones. One particular scene shows deGuzman on a swing-set with a small girl. The girl is playing on her cellphone instead of swinging.
The viral video goes on to portrays many other situations, including deGuzman with a group of friends at a bowling alley. She scores a strike but no one notices, again due to being on their smartphones.
The film ends with the couple back in bed. After deGuzman turns off the light, her boyfriend pulls out his smartphone and begins scrolling once more.
This convincing film says it all: Our smartphones are taking over our lives. The scariest part about that? Most of society is totally unaffected by what has now become normal behavior.
Regardless of whether we’re aware of it, the situations portrayed in the video are situations I think we can all relate to. Whether we’re the obsessive smartphone user or the annoyed friend on the other side of it, these “technology interrupted” social situations occur all the time.
“I Forgot My Phone” brings a big concept to the attention of its viewers: smartphones are distracting us, causing us to miss out on the events that make up our lives. The video portrays many situations where this is evident.
“It makes me sad that there are moments in our lives where we’re not present because we’re looking at a phone,” said Charlene deGuzman in an interview with New York Times.
As well as acting in the short film, deGuzman wrote the idea behind it based on her own experiences.
“I came up with the idea for the video when I started to realize how ridiculous we are all being, myself included, when I was at a concert and people around me were recording the show with their phones, not actually watching the concert,” said deGuzman.
It’s not only big “moments” like concerts and lunch outings that we miss out on by being on our smartphones; it’s the little ones, too. Not being completely present for the seemingly insignificant events we take for granted also takes away from the daily experiences we gain.
For example, the situation in deGuzman’s video where the couple is about to go for a run. The boyfriend is distracted by his cell phone while deGuzman waits on him impatiently. He is no longer present during the time he and Guzman intended to spend together.
This also applies to both the lunch and bowling alley situations. Instead of being present in the moment of the event, the group is on their phones. Smartphones pull us away from face to face social outings and we are no longer able to connect to one another. When we use our smartphone, we are distancing ourselves from the things and people around us by not being 100% present.
Charlie Hardy, a sophomore at Leesville Road High School, believes that it’s not the smartphones that are preventing society from living in the moment; it’s the people who use them.
“I believe people prevent themselves from being in the moment; they just use smartphones as an excuse. I do believe that smartphones encourage less face to face contact,” said Hardy, “And even when people are talking to you in public, you use [smartphones] as a way to avoid eye contact. I find you look at a group of friends and they aren’t with friends. They are with their phones. Their friends are an afterthought.”
Anna Phillips, also a sophomore at LRHS, agrees with the message of deGuzman’s video.
“Smart phones are useful when you need to quickly look something up or when you need to get a hold of someone. But sometimes, they get in the way of everyday things like socializing and homework if you are a student,” said Phillips.
“I agree with the statement ‘smartphones prevent us from living in the moment’ because most of the time kids are off in their own little world on their phone,” said Phillips.
She believes that smartphones grab our attention more than they should and double as a large, unnecessary distraction.
It’s safe to say that even if we’re on our phones posting through social networking, nothing can replace the experiences and memories we gain from “living in the moment” and interacting with people face to face.
Hopefully after watching this film, society will realize that it’s time to put down our cellphones and start paying more attention to the daily events that will eventually make up a lifetime of experiences.