William Penn’s Social Media class took an interesting approach to show students how much they are actually attached to their smart phones. Project Look Up was a weeklong challenge calling for students and faculty to not use cell phones for a week. The project was designed to show students, especially college students, there is a world that is not displayed on a four inch screen.
Ethan Goetz, a student who participated in the challenge, noticed that even in public settings he saw people locked in to their phones and nothing else. “A grandmother who took her grandson out for dinner was sitting across from us at another booth. The teenage boy was on his phone during the entire meal only looking up when she would say something. He would nod, then go back to whatever game he was playing.” Goetz said.
According to mobileinsurance.com the average person spends about 90 minutes a day on their phone. This may not sound overwhelming, however it adds up to 23 days a year an average person spends on the phone.
Sergio Carro, a student who participated in the challenge, said that while he does have practical uses for his phone, not using it opened his eyes to how dependent on technology our society is. “However, these practical uses are really just symbols of a society which has overcomplicated itself. These things are not necessities, but have been made to seem so,” Carro said.
In a world where we can get any information instantly we seem to think that everything in life should happen that way, but communication is not instantaneous. Shane Moore said this stuck out to him when he realized everyone expected him to respond right away, “This made me realize that people in the world today just want to know every thing right now they don’t want to have to wait of any length of time. I realized that by doing this project it is ok if you don’t hear from someone right away or if someone texts you don’t have to replay right away, you can take your time getting back to them. They might be mad at you for not getting a hold of them right away but they will get over it.” Moore said.
This was the first time Project Look Up was done at William Penn University. When asked if the project would continue Matt Wagner, digital communication instructor, said that the he wants to continue and expand the project so that everyone can see what they’re missing out on by staring at their phones.