Crossing Locust Walk during peak hours can be a risky venture. Twice yesterday, I narrowly missed crashing into students on their way to class, their eyes too fixated by whatever was happening on their phones to notice. It’s easy to judge, but I’m sure I too have been guilty of this unsavory behavior. Although body-slamming another student on Locust Walk would be extremely unpleasant, if we were crossing the street or driving there could have been far worse consequences.
We all know that smartphone use has become an epidemic. According to the Pew Charitable Trust, 26% of Americans go online almost constantly. No pun intended, given that another statistic I found online claimed that 40% of people check their phones on the bathroom. For busy students, phone overuse can be a barrier to productivity and focus, or even cause feelings of anxiety as we compare ourselves to photos of our seemingly happy and healthy friends on social media, outside having fun on a sunny day while we are trapped in the basement of Van Pelt.
The next time you reach for your phone (I am guessing it is at some point as you read this short article), consider the following alternatives:
- Take a few deep breaths and a moment to check in with yourself today.
- Stop by to say hello to a coworker or give a friend a hug.
- Get up and walk around for a few minutes.
- Go get a healthy snack or a drink.
- Listen to your favorite song (or try a new dance move, no judging!).
My challenge for you today is to try 2-3 of these strategies. You may find it’s harder than you think. I’ll be back with part two of this series, where we’ll explore strategies to help you unplug from your phone.
By Staff Writer: Jennifer Kobrin, Learning Fellow & Instructor