Many humans, by nature, are addicts. If there is a thrill they seek it, chasing it to its very ends until they put themselves in danger. Contrary to the common belief, an addiction does not just imply drugs; it delves deeper into an uncontrollable feeling that needs constant gratification.
Every day addiction hinders us. It’s that doughnut we can’t put down, that computer tab we just can’t close, the Netflix episode begging to be watched. Now more than ever, we are susceptible to addiction, but who would have thought that such a device is in the palm of our hands?
Despite their relatively new existence, cell phones dominate our society. They are the first thing we check in the morning, the first thing we look to find before we leave the house and the last thing we see at night. Our dependence on cell phones has put us in a dangerous chokehold, and what’s worse is that we’re the ones with our hands around our own throats.
Texting while driving is a leading cause of deaths in the United States, with about nine people being seriously injured or even killed each day.
I and fellow students at Lawrence Woodmere Academy have taken the initiative against the increasing epidemic. As part of the school’s new Service Learning Opportunities Partnership in Education (SLOPE) program, led by math teacher Daniel McMenamin, students researched distracted driving statistics and preventative laws. The first text message was only sent in 1992 and it didn’t even start to really pick up until 2000, but it has left an immeasurable amount of damage in its wake.
Texting is a vice like any other. It is the moment of instant gratification when we receive a text from someone important to us, or even the irrational fear that occurs when our message isn’t responded to right away. Receiving a text message has been shown to light up the same area of the brain stimulated by highly addictive drugs such as heroin or cocaine. Are we so far gone that the damage is irreversible?
The answer is “no,” we are not. Like any addicts, we must identify the problem and think of ways to fight it, creating a “texting rehab.” Be it shutting your phone off completely while driving, tossing your phone in the backseat where you can’t reach it or waiting until you pull over, there are always ways to resist the temptation.
I and the other members of the SLOPE program found it was our own work and the facts we uncovered that resonated with us most. At the very beginning of our lives, why should we risk it all for an instant?
The strange thing about this all is that, just as we had the power to create the cell phone, we have just enough if not more power to resist it. It is not our abilities, but our choices that show who we are, and that control is the best addiction of all.