A Letter to My Phone

(Inspired by Abby Zwart’s article titled A Letter To My Cell Phone)

Dear Phone, 

I have decided we need to have this conversation. You have been an important thing in my life since elementary school (even though then you were just a flip phone for the following 5 years). But, it is time we take a break. I don’t want to lose you, I need you. But that’s why we need a break, and I will lay it all out for you here. 

But before I lay it all out, I do want to say just how much I do appreciate you. You are there for me in times of emergencies. Like when I had that car accident last year and I needed to call 911. Or when you help distract me by playing a funny video when I’m having a panic attack. You help me stay close to all my friends and family. You help keep me informed about what’s going on in the world. But these things are what has led into all my issues with you. 

  1. Your screen hurts me in more than one way! 

I have had my doctor mention countless times you physically aren’t good for me. You hinder my sleep with your bright screen (even though I use your blue-light filter AND turn brightness all the way down!). You also cause my eyes to physically hurt, but this is your cousins’, TV and Computer, fault too. According to Melissa Barnett, from UC Davis, there is proof that blue light can hurt your eyes and affect one’s sleep cycle. Seeing your bright blue lights messing with my sleep cycle, which I definitely feel on a nightly basis. If you can fix your brightness and blue light, maybe we wouldn’t need to be having this conversation…  

  1. You’re kinda creepy… 

I usually forget to turn off your GPS feature, and even when I do I have theories you still follow me. At least once a day I get a notification from you asking how X location was, or how long my drive to work would be if I were to leave at X time. If you were a real person texting me asking how X location was or knew my schedule to a tea, I would have dropped you a LONG time ago. While I still have my doubts that you are listening to me 24/7, many have beliefs that you are. Overall, maybe it’s time I don’t have you with me so you can’t see where I am all the time. 

  1. Fake. News. 

You know this is an issue. I see it on my timeline all the time, and heck I am taking a class right now where one of our main focuses is learning about how to avoid fake news! I get that there are times where it is for a comedic aspect, like with The Onion articles, but even those have gotten out of hand recently, in the sense that people are actually believing them. As Sam Wineburg and Sarah McGrew, both from Stanford, mention in their article, big news companies are coming up with fake news sites when someone looks up something, especially if it is politically related. While I try to be good about checking my sources, and the SIFT idea from Check, Please! really helps with that, I’m still not perfect, as I only got an 80% on a test from Check, Please! But with the idea of SIFT, it wants you to be slow, but yet, you are so fast paced. Showing me new articles every second, or having my twitter feed full of new tweets and refreshing so often. But not only is the news you show me bad, news itself is bad for me.

  1. News is bad for me, and you keep showing me it.

The news is scary. It’s reality, and that’s what’s scary. When you show me an article about a plane crash, or some new legislation that Trump is trying to push, I understand they are real, and that’s scary. But yet, you don’t stop showing it to me, even when I don’t want to see it. Now I know I should want to see it, but I can’t handle it constantly. As Rolf Dobelli, from the Univeristy of St. Gallen in Switzerland, mentions, there are several different reasons as to why news is bad for someone, and with me having anxiety issues, those reasons are even worse for me, but you don’t care. New is misleading, irrelevant, toxic, and wastes time, as Dobelli says, and those are only some of the reasons why it’s bad. News makes me anxious, but you don’t care. You want me informed, but I can’t have that all the time. 

  1. Social Media is bad for me, and you want me to be on it.

This one should be a no brainer. Social media is bad for me, and it’s bad for everyone. It is constant pictures of people who “look better than me” and have “more perfect lives than I do”. All I see are people who are rich and famous with no care in the world. I see people who I don’t even like that I knew in high school. I see these toxic people in my life, but that’s all I see. Not only that but it’s so fast paced. As soon as I’m done with one post, there’s another 1 second later. I wish more people knew that social media wasn’t good for them, but yet everyone is obsessed, and so am I.

  1. I am obsessed with you. 

It’s as simple as that. I wake up and reach for you. I go to bed and fall asleep with you in my hand. If I leave the house without you I turn my car around to make sure you are at my side the whole time I’m out, even if it’s a 5 minute car ride. I need to not be so dependent on you, and maybe you need the same. 

I have decided that we need to take a break. As you see from above, you are toxic for me. I can’t sleep properly, I get panic or anxiety attacks almost daily because of you. I have become dependent on you to function normally on a daily basis, and that’s not okay. I need to just take a break and detox. We can still see each other, as I use you for my friends (sorry), but I need to delete half of the apps that you have. I need to not go on Reddit 20 times a day, or constantly refresh my Twitter feed. We need some space right now. Sorry if I won’t upgrade you any time soon, but it’s what’s best for me. I hope you understand…

Sincerely, 

Jenna 

“Two Months Later”

Hey Phone, 

It’s been a while huh… 

I’ve realized that maybe I do need you still after all. As I said, you are there for me at times of need. In emergencies, in mental health issues, with friends. You do care about me, but yet I still think we need to set some boundaries. So I have come with a list of rules you and I need to follow from now on. 

  1. Starting at 10pm every night, unless I am miraculously doing homework at this hour, you need to give me space. Your bright screen really just doesn’t do me good that late at night, so from now on, we both need our own bedtimes. 
  2. I am going to stop caving into all your news. It isn’t good for me. I know I need to stay informed, and I will but I will only look a couple times a day and will only pay attention to the big important things. 
  3. No more Social Media. Simple enough. 
  4. We need to hang out no more than 3 to 4 hours a day, preferably less if I can handle it. Do I really need you more than not? No. I don’t even need you that much probably, but baby steps. 
  5. Sorry, I’m not letting you have GPS on all the time anymore. Again, simple enough. 
  6. Lastly, for the love of God, please stop showing me fake news! I am going to try wayyy better to make sure I don’t fall for your tricks! 

Well phone, I hope these rules will last and it can help mend our relationship with each other. I believe in me, and I hope you believe in yourself. 

Sincerely, 

Jenna

Sources:

Dobelli, R. (2013, April 12). News is bad for you – and giving up reading it will make you happier. Retrieved March 5, 2020, from https://www.theguardian.com/media/2013/apr/12/news-is-bad-rolf-dobelli 

Gan, C. (n.d.). Is blue light from your cell phone, TV bad for your health? Retrieved March 5, 2020, from https://health.ucdavis.edu/health-news/newsroom/is-blue-light-from-your-cell-phone-tv-bad-for-your-health/2019/05 

The all-in-one workspace for your notes, tasks, wikis, and databases. (n.d.). Retrieved March 5, 2020, from https://www.notion.so/Introducing-SIFT-04db7879dd7a4efaa76bfb2397d11ffd Wineburg, S., & McGrew, S. (2019, April 23). Why Students Can’t Google Their Way to the Truth. Retrieved March 5, 2020, from https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2016/11/02/why-students-cant-google-their-way-to.html?cmp=soc-edit-fb