In this day and age, smartphones have become almost necessary to function in everyday life. From the necessity of prompt response and immediate contact in many fields of work to the entertainment of games like Temple Run 2 and Scramble With Friends, smartphones have taken over our lives.
However, the constant connection with the outside world that smartphones have provided threaten our ability to truly enjoy and reap the benefits of the deep, emotional connections we make with others in person. On Valentine’s Day, these threats are heightened; on the one day of the year that we spend $13.19 billion dollars on showing others how much they mean to us, the constant updates on the lives of others through our smartphones pose various dangers to our love life and our sanity on Valentine’s Day.
1. It’s a constant distraction:
When you’re constantly in contact with everyone else via Facebook, Twitter, email, GChat, and texting, you’re not focusing on the emotional connection you share with that special someone on Valentine’s Day. This kind of distraction can leave you emotionally removed and inadvertently make your loved one feel neglected by your divided attention, even when you’re not actively surfing the Web on your phone.
2. It reduces you to making petty comparisons between your life and the lives of others:
Constantly being connected means you will constantly be bombarded with gooey Facebook statuses and romantic Instagram pictures of other people’s dates. If you’re single, this will cause you to compare your life to the lives of other couples in an extremely unhealthy way. If you’re in a relationship, this causes you to stop focusing on your own relationship on Valentine’s Day, comparing your cute couple-y Instagrammed photos to other people’s photos.
3. It separates you from the reality of the world:
Smartphones oftentimes help us ignore the reality of life, sending us into an alternate reality that exists only in cyberspace. This hinders our ability to make more personal connections and reduces our relationships with others to quick texts and skimming through our newsfeeds. On Valentine’s Day, we shouldn’t be treating our personal relationships so cavalierly; instead, we should do what we can to give our connections with others our full attention.
So this Valentine’s Day, I dare you all to try something wild and crazy: turn off your smartphone. If that proves too difficult (I know it'll be extremely hard for myself), or if your work demands prevent you from doing so, make every effort to minimize your smartphone usage. Instead, focus on the love you have for those that mean the most to you and your personal connections with others in real life.
And instead of dividing your attention between your own life and the lives of your Twitter followers and Facebook friends, focus on the people who you truly care for and the people that truly care for you: they are the ones who really matter this Valentine’s Day.