If You Could Change One Thing, What Would It Be?

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We asked a class of high school students at McNair High School if they could change one thing, what would it be? We got a lot of interesting answers… Some were funny and a lot made us think. It’s interesting to find out what other people are thinking about, especially kids. We decided to feature this essay challenge because the answer was so unexpected, I think especially to adults. This response comes from 16 year old Ximena Aragon. Thanks to her wonderful teacher, Jillian Chong, for working with Lodi Live to share this essay.

If you could change one thing, what would it be?

It seems like everyone nowadays are attached to their cellphones and technology. We stare at our screens to seek some kind of human interaction instead of just looking up. IPads and cellphones have become the new babysitter to some children. People are even willing to risk their life and the lives of others just to respond to a text message. Society’s fixation on phones is driving people further away from understanding the importance of looking up to see the world.

I’m not calling for an end to all technology. It’s clear that it has become a necessity to our careers, daily lives and is very useful. I just believe that there should be a greater value in how we choose to interact with each other. Once in a while, we should be open to shutting off our phones for a bit. When you’re out with friends, you should focus on the experience rather than taking pictures for your next Instagram post. Stop looking at how many likes your posts get. Your reality is more important than your online life. We also need to realize that it’s okay to wait to respond to a text. It’s not the end of the world if you ignore a message, but it can be the end if you answer it unsafely.

A balance in our technology usage would not only benefit us, but it would also affect those who after us. Kids learn from their parents. If an iPad acts as as a second parent, then that child will continue to rely on it for more. Kids need attention, not eye strain from looking at their screen. Management on electronics will help build stronger relationships, and in this day and age, we desperately need to focus on reaching out and speaking to one another..

I’m tired of watching parents hand their child a cellphone when they begin to cry. I’m tired of watching the driver next to me looking down at their phone. I’m tired of watching people stare at their screens when surrounded by family. But I’m also a hypocrite to all this. My phone is always by my side, and I check my notifications on a frequent basis. I feel this pressure to present a desirable persona online, but I realize my problem. I’ve grown to value my phone too much, and I need to change that.

As time goes on, we’re growing closer to technology. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing. More of us need to be able to manage how and when we use our electronics. More than ever, people have opportunities to go out and seek new experiences. It’s better to do than just watch others on Snapchat. Our lives don’t just have to exist online.