Here in Dublin, Guinness is doing an advertising campaign called #PhonesDown. They have billboards on buildings and posters in pubs all across the city that say, “Switch to Pub Mode” with the hashtag, #PhonesDown. Pubs that are participating give you a bag that you are able to put your phone in while you are there. This advertisement is all about encouraging people to enjoy the company of the individuals they are surrounded. They believe conversations flow easier when people are not distracted and tempted to check their phones every so often.
This advertisement especially resonates with me on the simple level of awareness. The amount of times during my teenage years that I would drive in the car with my parents and be on my phone the entire time is countless. I can still hear my Mom saying, “Jake, hello, we are talking to you,” and then muttering to my Dad, “Oh, he is on his phone.” I was unaware of the authentic conversations that I was missing out on with the two people that care about me most simply because I was distracted by what, at the time, I thought was most important on my phone.
In our society, phone addiction can be a real thing as we all rely on it for a wide range of things in our daily lives. Anything from social media, work, and one million different apps for anything and everything under the sun we desire. It can be extremely difficult to tune it out and engage in the environment we are physically in. Yet it doesn’t have to be difficult if we create more awareness and remind each other to enjoy the present moment.
So my call to action, to myself and anyone else interested, is to use your phone to strengthen the relationships you have around the world. Don’t let it cripple the relationships that are right in front of your eyes. Let’s all enjoy a dinner or night out with the people around us and keep the conversations flowing because checking who liked your Instagram can wait for another time.