Does Your iPhone Make You Feel Guilty?

Does the iPhone lead us to less productive, less engaged lives? Or is it a tool to be wielded for good or evil, whichever we choose?

screenshot of a portion of the iPhone's Timer app


I have to admit, we get lost in our iPhones from time to time over here at Wand’rly. I’ve found myself feeling more guilty at times than I’d like to at staring into this little pocket computer for long enough periods to strain my eyes.

I know I’m certainly not the only person with this affliction. For such small screens, they’re as addictive as gravity. The Lady of my life, who had barely ever owned a flip phone let alone a computer prior to inheriting a friend’s iPhone, has been known to glow like the reflection of a blog in her big green and blue eyes.

That said, you have to admit that they’re useful little items, particularly for those looking to lead a lifestyle—or at least their pockets’ worth of an afternoon walk—as free of items as possible. They’re the Swiss Army knife of this century. Instead of a knife, a scissors and a toothbrush we have a maps app to find us a market, a camera to text a photo of our ripped pants to a friend who’ll hopefully have a spare we can borrow, and Safari to help us Google whether or not strawberries can actually be used as toothpaste.

I enjoy chronicling my life, taking pictures of places we’ve walked, texting people to meet up on a whim in the middle of the day rather than needing to make plans hours in advance, and getting my news without a piece of bark’s worth of tree having to lose it’s place in the forest. In my days before these communication candy bars roamed our fingers, I would carry around a notebook full of sketches and thoughts, a point and shoot camera and a flip phone. That pretty much involved a backpack for what I can now fit into the fifth pocket of my jeans.

Getting things done? I can now literally work from just about anywhere. Everyone’s seen photos of people sitting at the beach in their shorts working from a laptop, but in all reality, who wants to take your expensive laptop to
an outlet-free sand trap and let that lithium ion battery burn a hole in your speedo? Working from the beach is kind of a mobile worker rumor, more Corona commercial than real life practicality. I mean honestly, if I am at a beach, I’ll probably figure out how to not be working pretty quickly. Still, it’s nice being able to keep up with email during random downtimes en route rather than sitting around popping open a laptop to figure out if that important document came through or your client managed to make payment yet.

Still, I think it’s best to have rules in place save we find our electronics becoming our next fast food: a convenience gone horribly epidemic. I stand by the rule that I never look at my phone when hanging out with friends, particularly not while sitting at the table with them. Never in a restaurant. The bus is fine, but not while walking through a beautiful park. Unless it’s for a photo, and then all bets are off, of course.

I’m always aware though that it’s easier to do something easy too much rather than do it too little, so I’d love to hear your thoughts on where iPhones draw the line between powerful tool and just another screenful of distractions. Tell us on Facebook.