Just put your phone down

Emily Niman , Reporter

I see prisoners every day — in restaurants, in classrooms, at the park, pretty much everywhere I go. These prisoners do not wear special clothes that distinguish them from other members of society like the orange jumpsuits many of you are envisioning. They look just like any other person. In fact, you might even be one yourself. What makes these people prisoners are the devices they carry around. This device is known to most as the “cell phone.”

“I cannot live without my phone,” many phone carriers say. This is due to the fact that they become addicted to the constant communication, updates, pictures and information a cell phone allows them to have. This addiction causes them to limit their life. Their phones require constant attention. They bring their phones to parks and restaurants, snapping images and posting statuses. Instead of living in the moment, they are living in the future — envisioning how many likes or comments a post will get. In their minds, if they don’t post to social media, the cool event they went to or the perfectly plated food they ate never existed.

Not only do phone prisoners take their phones in public, they also take their phones to private places such as the bathroom, the bedroom, and even the shower. They never have a moment of solace or privacy. Intimate moments are interrupted by a buzz from a phone.

When I see people so consumed in their phone that they almost run into a pole or walk into a passerby, I feel pity. Their addiction does not allow them to experience a moment but rather live vicariously through a screen.

Prisoners that reside at an actual jail live vicariously through a window, imagining what it would be like to experience a moment where they could do what they want. Cell phone prisoners are free to do what they want but are trapped by their phone — always on and always in reach.

A prisoner is defined in the dictionary as “A person who is or feels confined or trapped by a situation or set of circumstances.” While a cell phone prisoner may not feel confined or trapped the cold reality is that they are. Their phones and chargers are their balls and chains.

The key that will set them free is not out of reach. By simply putting down their phones and living in the moment, experiencing the world for themselves and not for others, allows them to experience truly the delight of living in the present. The sooner people realize that there is more to life than likes and retweets the sooner they will be free.