Sam

Social seclusion closely tied to handheld device

Feb 21 • Opinion, Samantha Griswold • 564

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By SAMANTHA GRISWOLD
managing editor, news

We are living in a world of constant connection – think about it. When is the last time you went without your cellphone for more than an hour or two?
For my interpersonal communication class, we had to read “Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age” by Sherry Turkle and it has made me think more about my own technology habits.
In the book, Turkle asserts that our society is so deeply engrossed in our technology that we have forgotten how to have conversations — and I don’t necessarily disagree.
She brings up the idea of disconnection anxiety, something that I actually frequently experience.
People begin to feel anxious when they don’t have that constant stream of media in their palms.
I hate to say it, but I am beginning to realize that I am addicted to my phone.
When I’m out in public, especially when I’m alone, I always find that my phone has made my way back into my hand — almost like a comfort object.
Why? I honestly don’t even know — it’s not like I’m talking to other people or doing anything useful on it.
I’m usually just scrolling through Facebook or checking my email in an effort to look nonchalant.
Turkle ascertains that those who feel disconnection anxiety are less experienced at exploring their inner lives, but I would have to disagree – I’d say I’m fairly experienced at introspective thinking.
Turkle says that a lot of college-aged people are not actually engaging in times of solitude because they are still on social media, surfing the web or texting.
I enjoy solitude — well, I actually require it — but I am beginning to see that what I categorize as solitude might not be accurate.
Like a lot of other people, I have a love-hate relationship with technology. I didn’t grow up with technology the same way that my younger siblings and kids even younger than them did.
We had a computer that I would play games on occasionally and I did have a Gameboy Color at one point that I played a lot, but I was nowhere near as addicted to those things as I see my younger brothers are with their Xbox and computer games.
I think my biggest issue with technology is the way it’s affecting children. You can see how kids seclude themselves with their phones and tablets and according to Turkle, this seclusion is causing them to not know how to have conversations with people, which is, you know, kind of an important skill to have.
Over spring break, I’m going on a service trip to Merida, Mexico, and as part of the trip, we are giving up technology for the week, which honestly makes me a little uncomfortable.
But I’m committed to having a fantastic experience on this trip and if that means giving up my phone for a week, then so be it — even if it gives me an anxiety attack.

SAMANTHA GRISWOLD
griswold002@knights.gannon.edu

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