Lu: My iPhone Is Ruining My Life

by Jessica Lu | 9/23/14 5:30pm

My iPhone is ruining my life. My relationship with it can be described with one word — addiction.

And yeah, I know, first world problems. But still.

Here’s some background: I had the same flip phone from seventh grade until my junior year of high school. It went through everything with me and survived more than I could have possibly expected it to. I had dropped it off a roof, it had tumbled halfway down a small mountain, and yet it met its overdue demise when my water bottle spilled in my bag, drowning both my phone and my iPod.

So after I’d finished my period of mourning, I decided to do the logical thing and kill two birds with one stone. I would get an iPhone, which would replace both my cellular device and my iPod. I braved the Black Friday crowds and secured a brand spankin’ new gold iPhone 5S.

It immediately became my baby. Rather, it became my significant other. In a twisted mixture of fatal attraction and Silas Marner-esque obsession, I became totally enthralled with my phone. As soon as I took it out of its shiny packaging, I was Snapchatting prolifically — and by prolifically, I mean I sent five hundred Snapchats in one day. Candy Crush sucked me in until I hallucinated rows of bright candies before bed. My iPhone is now the first thing I check in the morning and the last thing I see before I close my eyes at night.

Honestly, we’re in a committed relationship. We sleep in the same bed. We go everywhere together, and AutoCorrect means it finishes my sentences. I cry into it, I laugh into it, and through thick and thin, it is always there for me. We’ve become that disgusting, codependent couple everyone hates.

But our relationship isn’t all sunshine and roses. My iPhone is clingy. It always demands my attention. I find myself thoughtlessly checking to see if I have any new messages, even if I know I don’t because I’ve already checked three times in the last 30 seconds.

I can’t go more than an hour without making sure that all is well with it. Even worse, I’ll answer a text and end up spending 10 minutes playing Jelly Splash. I’ll email my brother and get sucked into Tumblr. What always begins as a quick, productive exchange almost always devolve into something a bit less efficient.

You know how people say they just don’t have time for a relationship? Well, I just don’t have time for my iPhone anymore.

A smartphone is supposed to be the ultimate way to streamline your life. Everything is at the tip of your fingers, literally. You can organize your calendar, check your messages, buy things you really don’t need and book a flight anywhere, all on the same device. But my iPhone has not made me more productive. Instead, it has become a time suck. I waste away minutes, hours, sometimes days, it seems, on my phone. The bags under my eyes aren’t because I was up late writing a paper, but because I got sucked into a blog or a game.

Sometimes, progress isn’t actually progress.

My shiny new iPhone takes me away from more important things: my studies (yes, I’m a dork), my family, my friends. The time I spend goofing off on my iPhone could be put toward something more meaningful than Diner Dash. Texting is no substitute for actual human contact, and it’s strange that the device invented to connect the world has, in a way, pulled it further apart. While we may “speak” more to one another, communication cannot be relegated to text bubbles of a few hundred characters.

It’s time for me and my iPhone to take a break. Maybe you should consider it too.

Lu is a contributing columnist.