Tuned in but Zoned Out

Julie Weier –

Recently, ABC has premiered a new show called Selfie. This show focuses on a woman called Eliza Doolittle who is so connected with her phone and social media that she has lost all touch with reality, including her relationships with other people. She uses her phone to emotionally disconnect from events and people in the real world. While watching the premiere, I thought that it had a good message but slightly over exaggerated the addiction to phones. Well, the Universe had a lesson in store for me.

Tuesday, October 7, the day of the second episode of Selfie, I was in for an unpleasant accident. My phone fell from my bed, and through my own negligence, I put my phone into a coma. It still received texts and notifications, the only problem was that the screen was entirely black. I thought that if I waited somehow it would return to normal. NOPE! At first, my extreme emotional reaction was to the fact that somehow I was going to have to explain my clumsiness to my parents. But after I calmed down, I realized that I had this gnawing anxiety and had an extreme desire for my phone to be working again.

Texting (tune in)

To compound my withdrawal from my iPhone, the WiFi in my dorm was not working. I honestly didn’t know what to do with myself, and this fact scared me; I never used to rely so heavily on technology; it had always been an afterthought. After all, I had my books, soccer, and friends to keep me occupied. But instead of wanting to communicate face-to-face, I’d rather just send my friends a quick text.

The more I was tuning into my phone the more tuned out of the world I was. The first lunch after the accident, I was eating with my friend, Becca Morris, and she told me she liked me a lot more without my phone. She felt that it was easier to talk to me now. Before, I would listen to conversations while playing a game on my phone. Seriously, what was wrong with me?

I never used to be so absorbed in my phone until I got an iPhone. I hated how my high school friends would barely listen when I needed to talk to them, but at that time, I did not realize the attraction of an iPhone because I had had the same durable phone since 8th grade. The world was a much simpler place when all a phone could do was call and text instead of a modern phone that can now take a picture, connect you to the internet, tell you the weather, play games, and many other things. Yes, it is a very efficient phone but it’s caused me to become an inefficient human being.

It is a buffer between me and the world that is unnecessary. I used to be that girl that would carry a book around everywhere just to get a couple more minutes of reading in. Now, I am that girl that walks to class looking at her phone, playing games on it while waiting, and is more comfortable pretending to be texting instead of facing an awkward situation.

The first step to recovery is realizing you have a problem. Now I realize that many of you might not be as absorbed as I am, but at first I wasn’t that way either. It only takes one more game downloaded, one more social media tool to add, and etcetera for your mild use to become an addiction.

Unfortunately, unlike Eliza Doolittle we do not have Henry to help try to change us into functioning human beings again. What we do have is only a slight addiction not nearly as lost in the virtual world as Eliza. From my one day without my phone, I experienced more engaging conversations, had more time to do homework, and felt an amazing sense of freedom. So here’s a challenge that I issue the students of IC: Try to go a whole day without using your phone.

Good luck.


Julie Weier, from Belleville, Illinois is a junior majoring in English Literature and French at Illinois College. Julie is a writer for The Rambler, a member of various clubs, and plays soccer.


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