Letters to the Editor

It’s time to stop staring at your phone. Look up and live.

A pedestrian checks her phone in downtown Palo Alto on Aug. 19, 2016.
A pedestrian checks her phone in downtown Palo Alto on Aug. 19, 2016. New York Times file

“Hi, mom … good … OK … thanks…”

The bedroom door closes and face-to-face communication ceases. Please do not misunderstand. According to our culture, this teenager is extremely social. Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram cradle his attention and scream at him, proclaiming that he is in fact a communicator. He has thousands of friends and followers. How could he not be social? This culture is increasingly described as the culture of social media. However, I would argue that we are far from social.

Why do we feed into this reality? We can have a voice, we can have an impact. Social media gives instant gratification from meaningless validation. A “like” and a “favorite” must cease acting as the cop-out for deep, personal relationships. As millennials, we have grown up believing social media is the norm, where we give people our “like” instead of our love.

Take action! Look up from your phone! Be present! Make eye contact! Be alive! We can leave our phone at home, start a conversation with a stranger, listen to the sounds of a busy commuter train, refuse to feed into what culture expects of us. Let us live life the real way.

Rebekah Phillipps, San Luis Obispo