Opinion: Hang up and hang out

Moments before the challenge of

Jay Schlaegel

Moments before the challenge of "hang up and hang out" was issued, Wingspan staff members talk and look at menus on their first night in New York City for the Columbia Scholastic Press Association Spring Convention.

Halle Barham, Sports Director

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When deciding to meet with friends for dinner, a lot of planning goes into deciding when to meet, where to meet, what to wear, and whether carpooling is an option or not. The planning is tedious, however, the result of meeting a friend you haven’t seen in awhile is worth it. Or at least it should be.

While sitting at the dinner table, my biggest pet peeve is trying to hold a conversation with someone who is more engaged with a 5-inch screen than what you have to say. In this generation, interaction is limited no matter the location or circumstance with hours of our day being spent texting and tweeting. While at a restaurant or at home, I hate looking up from my plate to see all of my friends or all of my family engaged with their cell phone rather than with each other.

The potential for conversation is limitless, however, when cell phones are added to the equation, the conversation becomes limited. Stories are to be told, politics are to be talked about, and laughs are to be shared, but the people of this generation would rather sit in silence if it means being able to engage on Twitter, Snapchat, group messages, or Instagram.

In light of this, my group of friends has decided to take control of our time spent together. In fact, a common saying, “Hang up and hang out”, has been added to the vocabulary of the primary ten of us who get lunch on a weekly basis. By hanging up and hanging out, we’re able to share stories from our day, laugh, and poke fun. More fun is to be had when the cell phones are stacked in the middle of the table.

Outside of my close-knit group, while in New York City, the Wingspan staff even decided to hang up and hang out for our meal. We decided, as a group, that if someone touched their phone, we could text anyone in their contact list whatever we wanted. Things got interesting really quick. With this challenge on the table, no one thought twice about wanting to be on their phone. In the conversations that ensued, we had a blast. We had conversations that wouldn’t have happened if cell phones were added to the equation. We engaged with one another, we engaged with the wait staff, we doodled on the paper tablecloth, but most of all, we had conversations.

Cell phones are a big advancement in technology, but they often take too much control of our lives. If we can at least spend 45-minutes with each other on daily basis, we might realize being social isn’t so bad.