Home 2018 Collegiate Magazine Does your relationship only exist in your phone?

Does your relationship only exist in your phone?

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Becky Hall color illustration of cell phone with red lip-print/San Jose Mercury News 2007

By Halle Raab

When we “talk” to someone, are we really talking to them? Are we communicating face-to-face with actual emotions and expression? Or do our relationships exist solely in our phones, with emojis and exclamation points and abbreviated words?

Over the past decade alone, phones have developed from small plastic devices that could only call and text, to $900 mini-computers that all of us have in our pockets. They have developed a new way of communication and have changed our way of life.

For young people especially, technology and social media have influenced the way we conduct ourselves. Growing up in a world where technology was constantly changing and advancing has definitely impacted the way I developed as a person. I got my first social media account when I was in seventh grade and ever since, I haven’t had a break from the drama and the constant reminder that everyone knows everything about everyone.

Relationships are supposed to be personal, yet most of the time, we communicate with people in the most impersonal way: through a screen. We might have 700 Facebook friends, but how many friends do we really have? Do we actually hang out with these people, or even talk to them?

In 2012, an app called Tinder was released. The app allows users to like and dislike people that live nearby and maybe find someone they would like to go out on a date with. Tinder is mostly used by college-aged students to talk to as many “attractive” guys or girls as possible, hook up and then never talk again.

But, this doesn’t just happen on Tinder or dating apps, this happens on every social media app in existence. Most of the time, people spend too much time worrying about their Snapchat streaks and not enough time worrying about their relationships with people in real life.

Sure, I love social media as much as the next teenager, but realizing how empty it has left me in certain aspects of my life has been a challenging concept for me to accept. Something important I’ve learned within the last year is that people’s perceptions of us won’t always be exactly how we want them to be, and that’s okay.

The only relationships that should matter are the ones that live beyond the perimeters of our phones. True, genuine, real relationships.