In my late teen years, it was an all too often occurrence for my father to tell me to put my phone down whenever I was in his presence, or my mother to give me a disapproving look whenever I had it out at the table. And while this was mostly a matter of respect (which I should’ve followed), this same mannerism is used by most adults older than myself.
Anytime I pull my phone out in a public setting, it seems that everyone around me who is from an older generation is giving me the stink eye. And I know I’m not the only millennial to feel this way. I feel ashamed to check my emails, because I can hear someone whispering about how all us “young kids” do is “play on our phones”.
In my teen years, playing on my phone was definitely the only thing I did. But something that I think a lot of adults are missing when they get mad at us for being on our phones, is that a lot of the time, we ARE working, not playing.
I try to be respectful of those around me and not pull my phone out when it’s not appropriate. But sometimes, I really do have to get out my phone and work. And to be perfectly honest, I spend over 60% of my time on my phone working. Checking emails, writing articles, and doing homework are just scratching the surface. I do a lot of social media marketing and brand promotions on my Instagram, and so part of my job is literally to be on my phone. A lot.
I know that there’s a culture surrounding smartphones, saying that they’re ruining all of us and that we won’t take our noses out of our phones long enough to enjoy life. And while I think it’s a valid point, it’s not the millennials fault. This culture has been created for us, we’ve been placed into it, without really an option to choose otherwise.
With the ever evolving professional world around us, a lot more of us are on our phones. Employers are looking at our online presence before considering us as a candidate for a job. A lot of online job boards have created apps, making it possible for us to research the field we’re trying to go into while we’re running between our many busy daily tasks.
As someone who works 45 hours a week and is pursuing an additional career in writing and social media, I take advantage of the moments I have between work and school. I try to use the breaks I take from homework to write articles, and the few minutes I get while I’m taking a bathroom break to scroll through my Instagram.
Please stop trying to shame everyone else for using their phones. We may be playing angry birds (just kidding, no one plays that anymore) and we may be working, but really, does it even matter? I don’t know a single person who doesn’t have their nose buried in their phone for a bit every day. Even my grandma does, for a few minutes. So stop caring what everyone else is doing on their phones and just go back to your own Insta-feed.