Behind the screens: Capturing life through cellphones takes away from moment

Imagine a movie premiere, a baseball game, your favorite concert and your sister’s birthday. These are events you’ll want to remember, to cherish and to revel in the moment of simply being there. However, all too reflexively, we’ve made the decision to have our phone be the recorder to those memories while we soak it in from behind a 2-by-5-inch screen.

While it’s a terrific convenience to have a device to keep track of things — in such a large capacity for its small size — we’ve taken advantage of it far too often. It’s time to rewrite the rules.

On two occasions last week, the dominance phones play during significant moments flooded the Internet. Firstly, commentators at a baseball game were took up screen time to show how a section of the stadium — occupied by college-aged women — wasn’t paying attention to the game for which they bought tickets. Instead, they were all snapping selfies and texting, much to the amusement of the commentators.

In the second instance, a photo of a “Black Mass” movie premiere surfaced. In the crowd was a sea of phones, all fighting for air space to snap a picture of the star walking down the red carpet. The only person in the crowd not using her phone, visually soaking in the parade of actors, was an elderly woman.

What’s sad is, these are only two situations out of the hundreds of thousands that surely took place last week at concerts, sporting events and college activities.

Yes, having pictures to look back on events are priceless. They’re precious reminders of something amazing we did with friends or something we had been so excited about for so long. But when the actual engagement with those events is replaced with making sure we won’t forget them later, we’re missing the point of being present for them in the first place.

We need to be more conscious of time we’re spending on making memories and realize that’s not synonymous with making pictures of memories. We’re missing the point if that’s all it’s becoming. We would have to rely more on storytelling and collaboration of memories with friends — but that’s exactly what we should be striving toward. Collaboration and sharing of memories as a collective group.

We need to take a page out of our parents’ book, back to the time when there were no picture phones so handy in pockets. They soaked in every moment they were somewhere and didn’t have a portal to the Internet in their hands to graze when they got bored at a family event. And you know what? They survived, and so can we.

Put your phones away, and remember firsthand what it means to be in the moment.