Perhaps the biggest reason why I was almost completely stress-free in Tonga was the absence of technology. The “millennials”, as my generation has been dubbed, have grown up with technology. Remember the Game Boys? Sony Ericsons? Neopets? You’re a millennial. We grew up with those before transitioning to our current addiction: Smartphones. Smartphones could be the best and worst invention ever, depending on perception. One thing is for sure: It has taken away human communication.
In the YouTube video “The Millennial Question”, it is stated that millennials have drawn the short straw. “Bad parenting and over-pampering” are the cards we have been dealt. In combination with smartphones and unkind corporations, millennials do not enter the workforce ready for the real world. We hang onto our phones for comfort and are afraid to take initiative. We turn to our phones, social media, rather than friends when things go downhill. The majority of our stress can be attributed to the constant voice in the back of our minds: Did they respond? Did _____ like my photo? Did s(he) follow me back? We begin to worry about small things that should not matter, and less about the things that do.
This was the complete opposite in Tonga. Without the presence of frequent “Dings!” or messages from people we barely know, our class had actual conversations. We connected without constantly looking down at our phones. The conversations and connections we made with each other and the villagers were real. We left our problems trapped in our phones and sought human conversation. What we learned was something most important: intimacy. Bringing us back to the Millennial Question, I 100% agree with our phones being a legitimate factor in our inability to form relationships. Phones have become a device we rely on, but we can choose to control our usage. I hope to continue to implement “phone-free” times in my schedule, improving the quality of my friendships and reducing stress all in one go. Two birds, one stone!