This will be a rant, fair warning. In general, cell phones (or mobiles, depending on where you live) are something I suppose we are better off having than not having. It took me until the summer of ’09 to decide to get one, and in these past almost four years I’ve generally felt it was worth it, even though my phone bill tripled if not quadrupled since eschewing a land line, not to mention the shelling out of money I’ve done to get new ones every couple of years. They’re great to have if you are lost, or if your car breaks down, for keeping in touch with people who live long distances away relatively cheaply, and texting can often be a good alternative to calling someone. It can be nice to look something up on the internet and I personally find it fun to have cool ringtones as well. Apps can be a great and convenient source of information.
The problem I have is with cell phone addiction, and how it affects people on a regular basis. Cell phone addiction happens, just as internet addiction does, addiction to coffee, gambling, porn, alcohol, drugs or anything else. It is never a good thing, regardless of how socially acceptable it is. It makes you weak, it’s certainly not something you should be proud of, or say off-handedly in conversation, because I will then ask you what you are doing to beat your addiction. I am not addicted to my cell phone. If I’m on a date I do not text other people, nor do I check texts, or phone calls. If I’m in a conversation with someone I don’t text people, nor do I check. You shouldn’t either.
In my previous job, just last year, a few friends from work (all girls) took me out to eat with them. I guess there were about eight of us, and I didn’t know them very well other than one person. We all sat down and talked for about 10-15 minutes; shortly following this amount of time time every single one of them was texting on their phones. This went on for the majority of the time we were at the restaurant, and I was stunned. Now see, I grew up in the 80’s, there weren’t cell phones, there was no internet back then. In fact both of these inventions have only been around and in use by the general public for about 16 years now, since 1997 let’s say. The girls I was with were all in their 20’s, and I thought to myself, “these girls are pathetic.” They weren’t even texting other people, they were mostly texting each other! It doesn’t matter who they were texting though, it shouldn’t have been happening. I wanted to say that they should be ashamed of themselves, and how much I looked down on them for not being able to engage in perhaps the one fundamental skill that women have: chatting. I guess they didn’t know any better.
It’s continued ever since! I have literally been on first dates with women who were checking their texts and sending texts right in front of me. Well honey you’d better hope you are something spectacular and you had better impress me, because otherwise that is our last date. If you are on a date with me I am more important than anyone who is sending you a text, I am more important than any text you want to send. Period. I don’t look at my phone, I don’t check my phone when I am on a date with anyone, whether it’s a first date or a 30th one. It is extremely rude. It means checking your messages is more important than paying attention to me, getting to know me, and it invites me to think less of you a person. It leads me to believe that I am important as long as nobody you’ve ever met wants to say something to you. I, in turn, will believe that you are not worth my time as a result.
It’s also NOT ok to text while driving. This is dumb! You are dumb if you do it! On those rare occasions when I’ve done it, I was being dumb too. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that distracted drivers accounted for 80% of all crashes in the United States in 2005 and 2006. Now how many drivers do you suppose are distracted due to texting? How many do you suppose were talking on their phones? Later the National Safety Council announced that 28% of all auto crashes in one year were caused by calling or texting while driving; that’s over 1.6 million crashes in one year. Don’t be dumb. Car & Driver magazine even compared the effects of texting while driving to driving while drunk in 2009. They had two people drive while texting and tested their reaction times, and then gave them screwdrivers until they had a blood-alcohol level of .08 and had them drive the same course. The times they were texting scored worse than when they’d been drinking. Don’t believe me, click here and read for yourself. This little test was done with people that were old enough to drink, who’d been driving for at least 5 years, likely more. Imagine how impaired teens are when they’re texting or on the phone; they are crappy drivers to start out with!
I definitely have a problem with this aspect of society. I enjoy texting, but I never do it at the expense of the person I’m talking to. Not even for the two seconds it takes to read a text. Neither should anyone else.