iDon’t Speak to My Friends

By: Kavya Ravichandran


This is 2014, and smartphones are all the rage. If you’re not constantly Snapchatting from your iPhone or tweeting from your Android–let’s face it–you’re archaic. I mean, who doesn’t have a smartphone these days? Only about 13% of Hathaway Brown Upper School students, apparently, and 39% of American adults.


In a recent survey conducted of 187 HB Upper School Students, it was found that 79% own iPhones, 6% use Androids, 2% have a different smartphone, and 12% have a regular phone (AKA a “dumbphone”).* A whopping one person out of the 187 respondents does not own a phone.


For comparison, a 2013 ABC News Article pointed out that 25% of the adult phone-using population in the US uses iPhones, and 25% use Androids.


Smartphones definitely increase our connectivity, but they also seem to be jeopardizing human relationships. I cannot count the number of times I’ve been talking to a person as they carry on a text conversation or play a game simultaneously. A concern voiced by many HB Upper School students is that people use their smartphones to actively avoid conversation. Face-to-face conversation is undervalued; instead, we worry about deciphering the tone of words in a text message. If we had the same conversation in person, we would be able to easily read their emotions and actions.


In some ways, an overemphasis on smartphone culture can also devalue friendship. An anonymous respondent to the survey said: “I only got an iPhone this year. During my iPhone-less years at HB I did feel left out. Not so much that I just didn’t have to coolest phone, but that I had no way of using the communications that my friends were using. There was always a game or Instagram post that they could bond over, that I couldn’t. There was even an activity for school that involved Instagram, based on the assumption that everyone had a smartphone. I guess that was the most obvious awkwardness. I also think that HB students generally have a higher reliance on their smartphones, specifically iPhones, for social interaction and entertainment. Its kind of scary to see a whole group of girls sitting around a table, all with their phones to their noses. I think it would help a lot of people to stop relying on their phone as a crutch for awkward situations and friendships.”


It is sad to see a group of friends sitting at a table, all independently on their phones instead of enjoying conversations with one another. Additionally, like the surveyed student said, many of the “class-bonding” activities we do involve Instagram. For example, once in the 2012-13 school year, we had a scavenger hunt in which we took pictures of the tasks and posted them on Instagram. While obviously the majority of the HB Upper School Population was able to participate, those without smartphones found it hard to and were left out.


So, in the future, instead of staring at your phone to avoid eye-contact with that freshman in the hallway, smile at them. Instead of Snapchatting your friend sitting across the table from you, ask them how their day is going. Instead of texting someone an apology, apologize in person. They will be more likely to accept it since they won’t be overanalyzing whether or not you were actually sincere. By making an effort to increase human contact, we will make ourselves happy in the long run.



* Percentages do not add up to 100 due to rounding.


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