Sophomore year, I became frustrated with the state of our dating culture. I didn’t understand why people couldn’t just date anymore. Why can’t a man ask a girl to dinner or coffee with no pressure. What changed?
Communication changed, changing the interaction of guys and girls and therefore changing the way we all go about dating. (Read more at Teen Texting: The Ruin of Romance)
Technology changed how often we are able to communicate and the format of our communication. We can now text, snapchat, voxer, email, periscope, Facebook, tweet, Instagram, Skype, FaceTime or maybe sometimes call. With all of the digital convenient forms of communication on our finger tips, we feel like we must be in constant communication. We are always on. We have mini computers in our pockets we carry around. Fear and concern overcomes us if we leave the house without it. Because the technology is there, because we have the ability, we often feel the pressure of doing it. I mean, you don’t want to waste an opportunity.
During my Sophomore year, I wrote two articles related to this topic of always being connected and its effect on our dating culture. First article was called For Goodness Sake, Just Ask the Girl Out on a Date! and the second was entitled Everyone’s Favorite Game of Tennis. I explored how technology infiltrated the way a guy approaches a girl with interest, the way they progress in their relationship and the lack of clarity in this type of pursuit. Technology speeds up the dating process and can create a false sense of intimacy. It gives you the sense that the two if you are always connected and it is addicting.
Yes, I mean actually addicting. When you receive texts, snapchats, likes or follows your body sends a hit of dopamine. It is not difficult to become addicted, it will begin to seek you. It makes it harder and harder to stop checking your email or phone. You may even come up with reasons to text, email, snapchat , Facebook, twitter, and Instagram more only to receive receive more hits of dopamine. The unpredictability of it all stimulates your dopamine and your addict.
Lets just say this is a big problem and we could use some rehab.
It is estimated by screen lock apps that the average cell phone user looks at their phone 110 times throughout the day. Some users even unlock their phone 900 times a day.
Around the same time of my frustration sophomore year, I discovered the poem Be Present by propaganda. This poem made sense, it was also frightening. Everyone is a participate in this addiction and we feed it to each other. I put the title of this poem as my lock screen as a constant reminder to not open it. To be present in my current situation whatever it may be. It helped, but eventually I went to New York and took a photo that superseded my desire to grow.
But, the lock screen was my own personal form of rehab. I reminded myself that people matter, that time is short and that I should make the best of where I am at. You cannot do that while you are looking at your phone. It is impossible to be two places at once. You cannot be in your phone and in a room.
So, just like I did, I recommend you go through your own form of rehab. I am not suggesting that you get dispose of your phone. I am suggesting that you attach a small reminder, maybe a lock screen or a sticker, that triggers the thought in your brain to be present. You will begin to become more aware of where you are at, the people you are with and the life you have been given. Technology can easily sweep us off our feet, but don’t let it. It can lift you so high you miss the earth you are standing on.