Does my girlfriend like her cell phone more than me?
This is a question most college students haven’t had to ask themselves with a straight face. But for many, today’s technology has taken over their lives and, often, compromised the well-being of their relationships.
Data in a recent USA TODAY Snapshot shows that 31 percent of respondents said it would be harder to give up their smart phone for a day when given their significant other as an alternative.
This is a sobering statistic, given that nearly six million individuals across the globe have mobile phone subscriptions, according to data provided by the International Telecommunications Union.
Chris Skiles, a recent telecommunications graduate from Ball State University, said his girlfriend frequently put him on the back burner because of her cell phone obsession.
“I definitely felt unimportant,” Skiles said. “There are intimate moments like going to dinner, to a bar, or out with friends where I felt somewhat isolated. There are so many times a conversation was missed because technology got in the way. It really hinders the communication in a relationship.”
When offered a back rub from his ex-girlfriend, Skiles was surprised to find out that she had designed the situation to be more of a moment of freedom to look at her phone than an act of generosity.
“I could tell she was distracted because there was only one hand on my back,” Skiles said. “She’d rub my back for a second, then stop and repeat. It really wasn’t much of a back rub. I turned around and she was on her phone looking at social media updates. This was a huge eye-opener into where her priorities fell.”
Not only are the relationships of college students being hindered by cell phone habits, but many individuals like Kiera Stacker, a junior at Missouri Western State University, allow their phone obsessions to dictate their daily routines.
“I use my cell phone a lot because I like to be social and I have to constantly know what’s going on,” Stacker said. “I use my phone everywhere. I use it in the shower, I fall asleep with it in my hand, and I cook with it in one hand. Though it’s illegal, I drive with it in one hand, I work out with it, and I fry my eyes in order to be on it in the tanning bed. Even if I’m not socializing, I’m still on it playing games, on Pinterest, or just going through my pictures to edit them on Instagram.”
Stacker said all of the boyfriends she has had in the past, including her current main squeeze, have said she is too addicted to her phone but have never ended the relationship because of it.
But when asked which would be harder to give up for a day, she didn’t hesitate.
“I’d like to say I would give up my phone, but I honestly would have to give up my boyfriend,” Stacker said. “I couldn’t go a day without my cell phone. I know I couldn’t, I would have an anxiety attack and I don’t even suffer from anxiety.”
With more and more individuals signing up for smartphones on a daily basis, it seems inevitable that our world will become more dependent on being constantly connected. And that may fact may already be making a difference in your relationships.
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