Does My Phone Make Me Less Active?


It’s hard to answer this question when I was never particularly active to begin with. I’ve had many an excuse throughout my life that aren’t related to communication technology – health, size, gender, body issues, or the classic all-purpose giving up on what I’m not good at right away. All of my decisions to get more active over the years have been related to other things. The role my phone may play in this is how much more tolerable my long walks home from a previous job were because I could listen to music or podcasts along the way – if anything, making me more active.

That is, at least physically speaking. In other meanings of the word active – engaged, participating – it’s played a surprisingly large role in getting me out of my bubble and more involved in the world around me. When I showed up at a nearby coffee shop to join an open-invitation discussion group with strangers, I assured myself it didn’t matter if I chickened out or they didn’t show up or anything else, because I brought my phone with me, and I could sit and look like I was doing something instead of the embarassment of appearing to be stood up. I did not use that escape plan and I have somehow got myself way more involved than I should be (as I’m still lazy, through no fault of my phone) in my community.

And boy oh boy, has my phone made travel better for me. I haven’t travelled a lot lately, but when I have it’s been alone and with minimal use of public transit. I love walking, which as noted above my phone has helped encourage to a degree in my daily life, but I have a poor sense of direction and lack of confidence in my gut feeling. Having my phone on me to use Google Maps to see where I am related to where I want to be in other cities has made travelling alone an easy experience…except for the 35° heat, but I chose to deal with that anyway.


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