We all live glued to our smartphones. We do everything on these devices, from talking to friends and making plans to catching up on the news. Some of us, including myself, even use our phones as a way to keep up with work. In fact, few of us know what happiness is if it doesn’t involve our phones.
But what would be like if we didn’t have our phones? Would we be able to see how disconnected we’ve become?
Photographer Eric Pickersgill, a photographer living and working in North Carolina, endeavored to find out. His impressive project REMOVED highlights what human interaction looks like by just removing smartphones from his pictures.
The results are astonishing. The images are stark, giving us a glimpse into our reality — that we spend more time looking at a screen than each other.
And it got me to thinking — is my phone that important to me? What could I be doing instead of looking at it? So I tried it for a few days. It was amazing.
Here’s what I learned:
We do almost all of our communication through our phones, making real-world interactions awkward.
We’re more interested in the instant gratification of social media than interacting with friends.
We’re addicted to our phones and even on special occasions we keep the devices close.
We’re not aware of, or present in, our surroundings, leading us to miss out on the beauty of life.
Our kids are learning how to avoid important issues rather than learning how to confront them.
We spend more time looking at our smartphones than we do looking at each other.
We’re teaching our kids that personal interactions aren’t necessary.
We’re forgetting how to be bored, and we’re passing that on to the next generation.
The idea that smartphones are replacing most of our interactions and making boredom nearly extinct isn’t exactly new, but it is one we need to confront as a society. Even our kids are being affected, with outdoor play being replaced by games and texting they can do from the comfort of their smartphone. And this is an issue that isn’t going anywhere.
But all is not lost. More and more, people are taking a break from their phones to be present in their lives, and it’s leading them to make better choices in their lives. Everyone, from children to adults, is learning that happiness can be found right outside their door.
As for me, I now only check my phone a few times a day. I’ve disabled all social media on my device, and I’m surprised to find that I’m much happier this way. It’s also had an effect on my husband, who’s going through a smartphone detox right now.
So what about you? Do you think you could live without your phone? Is it possible to find happiness through conversations and activities in the real world? Let us know in the comments below and let’s start a conversation.
To learn more about Eric Pickersgill and the impact his project has had, read this.
Featured photo credit: Couple in bed, Friends in Garage, Newlyweds on car, Friends sitting next to each other, Mother and daughter on couch, Couple on couch, Family in kitchen, Children on Couch via Collective Evolution and Eric Pickersgill
Featured photo credit: Ashley’s Neighbors by Eric Pickersgill via collective-evolution.com