The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Smart phones really a curse disguised as a blessing

New technologies distract us from the world around us and rob us of needed life skills

What’s wrong with me? Am I a lesser human being because my flip phone has 18 buttons, no Internet and one game—good ol’ Block Breaker? No apps, no playlists and no e-mails; just phone calls and text messages.

A smartphone is a cell phone on steroids. In addition to making phone calls, it has features similar to those of a computer and is generally based on an operating system that runs multiple applications.

My cell phone is not smart, but it does what I expect it to do. It is really great at being a phone; it allows me to communicate with others. Sure, it, can’t point me north, chart my sleep patterns or fart like a Whoopee Cushion, but it can serve as an adequate paperweight.

Smarts used to be measured by grade point averages, college degrees and Jeopardy questions, but now the question is, “How smart is your cell phone?”

Smartphones require more tender love and care than a Tamagotchi, and while you ooh and ahh over a smartphone’s newest trick, the world is passing you by in real time.
It’s as if the human race has condensed the brain into a two-by-four  inch piece of plastic with a touch screen and BeDazzled the case so it can be passed around the office, classroom or even playground.

Since when did it become normal to shove all of our acquired knowledge into a lint-lined pocket—a pocket that is notorious for accidentally projecting its contents into a flushing toilet?

I check my e-mail using a computer, play board games that actually come in boxes, watch the Weather Channel and read the newspaper. I have a dictionary on my shelf, a phonebook in my kitchen and a planner in my desk drawer. If anything, I think this makes me old-fashioned, not stupid.

The worst is when a professor asks a trivia question, and while I frantically scan the index and flip through the glossary of my textbook (you know, that expensive stack of bound pages lined with words), the kid beside me has his head halfway under the desk, thumbs scrolling at a million miles a minute through the Google results on his Rhodes Scholar of a cell phone. The professor might as well give the guy’s cellular companion the extra credit because it’s the one that did the work.

Yes, those little palm pals deliver immediate satisfaction when it comes to looking up directions, statistics and random facts, but they are a catalyst for laziness. They quench curiosity but limit human interaction.

What happens when the battery dies, the power goes out or, heaven forbid, the charger gets left behind at the hotel? What will those nimble little fingers do without a smudgy screen to dance across? Dare they resort to the old way of life? We have literally put the world at our fingertips, and that is fine—so long as there is good cell service.

Maybe my stubborn independence has gotten the best of me in this wave of technological advancement, but I like to think that what’s in my brain makes up for what my cell phone lacks. I fear the more we value and rely on our possessions, the less important we as people become. Call me dramatic, but I’d much rather be known for who I am and what I can do than for what I have—or in this case, what my cell phone has.

I grew up in the Piney Woods of East Texas and the one thing people know better than their scripture is that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” With this as my mantra, I will wait until my laptop croaks, the library burns down, I lose my Scrabble tiles and my Motorola flip phone poops out before I will cross over to the dark side of distracting smartphones.

Mallory McCall is a senior journalism and religious studies double major. She can be reached for comment at [email protected].

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