Are You Using Your Phone Or Is Your Phone Using You?

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Written by Nayo Walters

Technology makes our lives easier. There’s no doubt about that. We can find our way home, call anywhere in the world, and pay anyone with a tap of a button. But the real question: Is technology making us lazier? Are we completely dependent on our gadgets? Do we know as much as we used to?

An image of a Nayo Walters’ phone showing the apps she uses on a weekly basis. Photo by Gabby Smalls.

If you lost the ability to use your phone, you would find yourself helpless in many situations. You would be forced to engage in more, delve into your mind to find answers to the questions you easily ask a device or AI and most importantly find your way around without Global Positioning Systems. Navigation has evolved drastically in the 21st century in terms of paper maps to Google Maps on your smart device. Arrival times have been cut in half because you’ll never have to memorize street names or turns again. Repeating phone numbers in order to remember them are a thing of the past. Calling a cab is also obsolete, as you can now order a driver from your phone using apps such as Uber or Lyft. You can even have a car delivered to you on the Turo app for a daily rate. In a recent study, 62% of students here at Saint Joe’s admitted that they can’t get to Market Street from their dorm room without using a GPS. Now, we may never hear someone’s phone number said out loud because someone will just type it into your contacts instead. When you want to jot down a new to-do list you can open a new note in an app. Remembering your grocery list is no big deal because now you can have your groceries delivered. An easier lifestyle is at the tips of our fingers.

A very familiar screen for the students of SJU displaying the route to a very popular spot, Reading Terminal Market. Photo by Gabby Smalls.

We place all of our knowledge into our devices in order to clear room in our minds for new, more relevant information. However, without this device, we’re hopeless. We are attached to our phones at all hours of the day, and even when sleeping, it goes on a nightstand just next to the bed. Technology has become a part of us, like a third arm. We know that it’s not necessary for our survival, but it definitely makes things easier. Marshall McLuhan, often regarded as the father of communications and media studies, notes that “The wheel… is an extension of the foot,” and, “electric circuitry, an extension of the central nervous system” (McLuhan, 21-24). Will these extensions overrun the natural world? Will humanity fall victim to technology? Or are our innovations what makes human nature so amazing?

Check out the video where Gabby Smalls asks SJU freshman about their navigation app usage here!

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