Have You Got It Yet?

BY: NICOLE MCAFEE

Yesterday Apple released it’s newest addition to the family, the Apple Watch. Originally announced on September 9, 2014, the Apple Watch claiming to be Apple’s most personal device ever.

According to Apples September news release, the newest Apple craze encourages users to live a healthier lifestyle, offers them enhanced and quickened communication and is even available in three distinct designs all while honoring the ‘rich tradition of precision watchmaking.’

The Watch is here.

Apple advertises it’s watch as their most personal device yet! Their website highlighting a few key features. One being that the new gadget is “an incredibly precise timepiece,” keeping time within 50 milliseconds of the definitive global time standard. Another detailing how the newest Apple product is an even smarter way to look at fitness.

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Screenshot taken from Apple’s website; Apr. 2015

And best yet– there’s a watch for everyone. Everyone! The original Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport, and the Apple Watch Edition. Each one with nearly countless customizable options.

Even celebrities are already enjoying the latest craze and sharing it via the world wide web. How else?

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Actress, Lucy Hale sporting her new Apple Watch via Instagram the day of its’ release.

While the numbers haven’t quite yet been released due to the fact that Apple started taking pre-orders at 4 a.m. EST Monday; it seems as though the Apple watch nearly sold out within the first hour of availability! Orders are backed up through the end of July according to some bloggers! Prices ranging from $349.99 to $17,000 have people of very wide ranges of income scrambling for the latest Apple technology!

C Y B E R B U L L Y

BY: Nicole McAfee

There’s countless blogs on this topic. Countless instances of people falling victim to this. And a truly saddening number of suicides due to this one act. The act of cyberbullying.

With social media becoming the primary form of social interaction in today’s society, people have taken to using it in unimaginable ways.

Just Google ‘cyberbullying’ and over 5 million results will appear including organizations against cyberbullying, blogs talking about the effects of the crime, articles of victims who have taken their lives due to the hateful words people spread online.

This topic has recently touched my heart because I recently fell victim to cyberbullying.

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This is a screenshot from my personal Instagram account. I have absolutely no idea who @pink_airplane is; nor do any of my friends or family members. This person randomly commented on my photo with some hurtful words. Some may find this funny, maybe if it were someone I knew who was just picking on me to be funny. I have a pretty decent sense of humor, I can handle it. When I first saw the comment I laughed it off but it really started bothering me the more I thought about it. It made me think about all of the other people that are victims of cyberbullying on a larger scale and what goes through their minds when someone harasses them behind the computer screen. I grew sad and then began thinking of the people who take to ending their own lives because of the downright hateful things people have said to them online. Then I became angry. I started researching statistics of the millennial’s version of bullying and found a shocking number: 14% of high school students have attempted suicide due to cyberbullying.

In an infamous case dating back to 2003, 13 year old Ryan Halligan lost his life after being relentlessly bullied online.

Since 2003, cyberbullying has affected one of every four adolescents. MTV released the movie, Unfriended in 2014 sharing the story of a young girl falling victim to cyberbullying and ultimately taking her life. The movie was a bit exaggerated but still portrays the negative effects of cyberbullying. 

If anyone has ever fallen victim to this act of violence please visit this website  or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Being Present, Spring Break 2015

By: Nicole McAfee

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As the countdown to spring break gets shorter and shorter all of us UNT Eagles are filling with more and more excitement about the coming week and our plans to visit home, the beach, study abroad. You name it, we’re probably doing it and we’re probably documenting it. I personally have an upcoming trip to Corpus Christi with my boyfriend, Brennen! My younger sister, who goes to school in Austin has a trip planned to Gulf Shores this week as well. So I began thinking about exactly how us college students will be enjoying our spring break vacations!

My boyfriend and I have personally made a promise to stay off our cell phones while around each other with the exception of taking photos when necessary and of course to settle an argument about what song is playing or which actress we can’t find a name for. Seems like Google always lets him win those… I will be using this blog to document how I personally use social media over the course of this weekend and how I notice those around us using it.

{Friday, 3/13}  So of course I tried catching Brennen singing along to “I’m just a kid” by Simple Plan on Snapchat on our six-hour car trip to South Texas and as we explored the island of North Padre I couldn’t help but whip out my phone to take some adorable pictures of the two of us on the beach at Mustang Island State Park. I have yet to upload anything to Instagram or Facebook, but stay posted! We took a super cliché and romantic walk on the beach and noticed families and groups of coeds that came to the island to enjoy the first truly beautiful day of the season. I noticed many teens ankle-deep in the freezing water with their cell phones plastered just under noses trying to document every moment of their time at the ocean on Snapchat and Vine I can only assume. I couldn’t help but wonder how much of their trip they would truly remember. If they were really breathing in the fresh air and feeling the sand in between their toes.

{Saturday, 3/14}    It’s about 9:15 AM and I’m sitting in the lobby of the hotel enjoying a nice hot cup of coffee and some complimentary breakfast when a swarm of teenage girls come piling out of the elevators in softball gear and duffel bags. I noticed the majority of them checking their phones as they waited in line for pancakes and eggs. Later after Brennen and I returned from the beach we noticed a group of 9-10 year-old boys playing games on the computers in the lobby. Brennen even made a comment “I’m so glad we drove all the way to Corpus Christi to play some video games!” Kind of picking fun at the situation.

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{Sunday, 3/15}    So our six-hour car trip back home has now turned into an eight-hour car trip and needless to say, we are both exhausted! As we suffered through traffic in Austin, Waco, Temple and every town in between, we searched YouTube for all of our favorite songs that we grew up listening to. And again, I tried to catch his singing and dancing on Snapchat but never could get him before he realized what I was doing! Bummer!

As I reflect on the time I spent on my phone and the behaviors and tendencies I recognized of some others on my trip I decided to do a little research on the matter and found the following:

Initially I began my search typing in “cell phone use on vacation” and found some ironically helpful hints to encourage people to use their cell phone more while on vacation. But this wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. I really wanted to find some sort of insight regarding the way in which people enjoy and document their vacations and how they can still be present all the while. And then I found this article about how looking into the camera creates a barrier between you and your surroundings. The article, entitled Being Present on Vacation  talks about how people can truly get the most out of their vacation while still being able to document the memories they’re making.

So as we all embark on our spring break festivities, please be mindful of your surroundings and enjoy your time with your loved ones and the time off of school! Take pictures so you can have something to look back on, but BE PRESENT!

The Internet: A Blessing or A Curse?

Has the Internet been a blessing or a curse to our generation, to our society, to human interaction?

Even Albert Einstein feared that technology would surpass human interaction.
Even Albert Einstein feared that technology would surpass human interaction.

With the increasing research, marketing and communication capabilities, the Internet has completely evolved how society operates day to day. People take to Facebook to gossip about celebrities and share where they dined for lunch, they take to Twitter to complain to Pizza Hut about their incorrect delivery order and Instagram to document where they ate lunch this afternoon. We have rapidly switched from slow to extremely fast communication but has it gone a bit too far?

Sure it’s neat that I can search for restaurants near me and be given the option to sift through various types of food, price points and locations in the matter of seconds; and isn’t it grand that I can take to Facebook to find out more information than actually necessary on the friend of a friend my roommate wants to set me up with!? The Internet is a truly powerful tool but has social media encouraged people to perpetrate hatred rather than spread joy? Has the power of instantaneous communication affected the way in which the human race has interacted?

As I scroll through my Facebook News Feed I see comment after comment and story after story of kids making fun of a Down Syndrome patient, terrorist groups beheading American journalists, and just down right cruel words being thrown around the Internet as if they don’t take any effect on other people. I began noticing that it’s not just teens being bullied or doing the bullying but people of all ages, ethnicity and religions were participating in hateful and negative communication via social media. Then I began to notice that even celebrities have become the victim of online abuse and even those that publicly discourage cyber bullying participate in online discussion of celebrities in a negative manner.

The internet has become a forum that encourages people to share their thoughts, ideas, experiences and opinions but I believe that it has caused a huge disconnect in our society. I’m all for free speech, but I think social media has encouraged the bullying to go just a little too far. Put down your phone and go give someone a hug. Put down your phone and go engage in face to face communication with someone. Put down your phone and cultivate kindness!