Advice, Life

The Age of Non-Awareness

Music, social media, games, e-books, messaging. What do all of these have in common? They are all distractions. They have become even bigger distractions since the growth of technology, especially with the growth of the cell phone. It is really amazing all the power one has at one’s fingertips with this tiny device. One can kill almost any boredom, keep up with classwork, stay in contact with loved ones, and do almost anything with the tools now available on the the cell phones. However, like it has been said before, with great power comes great responsibility and many cell phone users are doing quite the opposite. The more technology seems to grow, so do the amount of accidents and deaths from cell phone usage. While there have been many stories where having a cell phone on hand has saved many lives, it does not balance out with the amount taken. Many will blame the cell phone for this, but it cannot take the blame alone. The blame falls with the individuals as well. By not letting ourselves become irresponsible with cell phone usage and then letting the distractions from it overwhelm our sense of awareness, we leave ourselves open to mistakes which leads to accidents or worse.

This article below is one of many that show how much our everyday awareness has become effected. In this news article, they speak of how a shooter who had his gun put in plain sight was looked over because everyone was more focused on their phones and not the situation unfolding around them:

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/08/san-francisco-train-shooting_n_4066930.html

It is pretty scary reality how people can get so sucked into the world of their phone to notice such a serious threat in plain sight. Some believe this will get worse with the rise of technology and while this may be true, there are measures we can take to be more responsible with this phone power we have come to possess. If we can take these measures and turn them into habits, then maybe we can not only keep ourselves safe but the people around us.

TIP 1: Make “Airplane” mode or “Do Not Disturb” mode your best friend
– Before you get in the car or take a walk somewhere or do anything where awareness of traffic and surroundings is needed, put your phone in one of these modes. By doing this, you can keep messages, calls, or notifications that most feel obliged to look at or answer from distracting you. You can focus on the things around you and prevent any accidents. It can also teach that you do not need to be at everyone’s whim at the drop of a dime or need to know what is going on in the world at all times. This alone can lessen stress to some extent.

TIP 2 : Out of Sight, Out of Mind
– If you worry that either of those modes are too easy for you to turn off and on. There is the option of putting your phone one of those modes or turning the silent mode on and throwing it into the bottom of your back or purse. Somewhere unreachable. However, I don’t recommend doing this if you work, travel, or live in a unsafe area. Because even though your phone can be a distraction, it can be a lifesaver in a pinch.
TIP 3: Always looks, Never assume
– This rule applies to everyday people but mostly school and college people because that is where I see it happen the most. They literally will walk right out in the middle of the street without a second thought. Most the time it is because they are looking at a phone, but I have seen many not looking at their phones do this also. No matter where you are crossing the street at, even at a legitimate crosswalk, you need to always look before you walk because you never know when somebody could just not be looking, distracted by their phone, or are just going to fast that they end up running that red light. I have seen all three of these examples happen and usually the person who got hit gets turned into street pizza.

TIP 4: Turn that racket down
– So this tip is mainly for those music lovers out there that either have a million songs on their phone or listen to a music streaming service on their phone. There is nothing wrong with listening to music, but you also need to be responsible with it when you are out walking or driving. If you want to listen it loud, thats fine. But don’t blast it so loud that you forget about your surroundings. You have to keep your senses and awareness alert at all times. I love music, I live and breathe it, and I know how hard this can be especially when your favorite song comes on. But it is better to be safe than sorry or dead because you did not hear the car vooming through that stop sign or someone walking behind you getting ready to mug you.

TIP 5: Learn the Wonders of Being Unplugged
– The best moments I remember having with friends or family was when I turned my phone off to enjoy the time I was spending with them. Heck, one of my favorite things to do is to go to the park and turn my phone off. This way I can fully immerse myself in the nature around me and chill. Not only is unplugging really good for stress levels, but it can really open your eyes to the many things you were missing out on.
I hope these tips help in some way and get through to some of you. This article is meant to remind you of how important your awareness and safety is. When you let devices like phones hinder your senses to where you become oblivious to the world around you, you not only put yourself in danger but it also can show little you think of yourself. You are way more important than any silly device that gives you some entertainment from time to time. Lives are more important than that silly device. Some people you meet may make you think otherwise, like your boss who is always nagging in your ear about something arbitrary or that customer who talks down to you any chance they get. But you should still place importance on your life and others. Love yourself and those around you.

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