Academy of Fencing Masters Blog

Art of Fencing, Art of Life

Millennials Would Rather Lose a Finger Than Part With Their Smart Phone

Millennials Would Rather Lose a Finger Than Part With Their Smart PhoneA shocking study recently came out that found that one in ten millennials would rather lose a finger than give up their smartphone.

The researchers also asked what else millennials would give up in place of their smartphone, and according to the article, “Shoes (26%), their car (20%), favorite food (19%), central heating in winter (12%), stop going on holiday (16%) and seeing family and friends in person (6%).”

Researchers were curious about how intertwined the compulsion for a smartphone was, considering that most millennials have never really known life without one. It’s shocking to see how deep their need for constant communication is!

Smartphones are convenient; they’re easy to use, there are millions of useful apps, they’re a way to feel always connected to your friends, family, the news, and in some cases, your favorite celebrities. It’s hard to resist that constant high from positive feedback and social interaction. Many millennials may even find themselves feeling a sense of withdrawal or disappointment if they can’t check the latest text message or trending topic on Twitter.

In many ways, having a device to dive into is an easy way to escape. It’s a place where they can decompress, relax for a second, and escape into the machine.

For those millennials who are willing to give up limbs, senses of smell, and other important things, maybe there’s another way to deal with a compulsion for the smartphone. I believe that if there is something else in your life that is as important, (or more so) it can take the place of the buzz some people get from engaging on social media and using their smartphones.

Smartphones Aren’t All Bad (Especially for Fencing!)

Since smartphones have been introduced the amount of information that can be shared has grown leaps and bounds, in particular when it comes to fencing.  It’s now incredibly easy to watch your favorite professional fencers win their bouts even if they are not televised!

If you follow them on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, or Facebook, many will post videos of their matches shortly after they play. And following them on social media is a great way to get insight into their training techniques, as well as insider tips or tricks they may share with their followers.

Smartphones can be a great way to keep up with the latest trends in the sport of fencing as well, including everything from new technology that develops to changes in gear and wardrobe.

Smartphones also allow you to stay in touch with friends and fellow fencers across the country and even the globe.

And of course, your smartphone can easily make videos of your own bouts, or bouts of your friends or opponents, and later watch and learn from them. You can also access several  fencing apps, including a fencing referring app that can help you to find direct information about fencing tournaments.

There are lots of great reasons to use your smartphone to keep up with the fencing community. But it’s a fine line between wanting to stay in the know, and becoming fully obsessed so that all other responsibilities and goals are ignored or in some cases, forgotten.

Taking the time to find that balance of putting down your smartphone, and engaging in a sport or hobby that you love, such as fencing, is a fantastic way to fight that technology itch. But more on that in a moment.

Smartphone Overuse Isn’t Just for Millenials

A recent study conducted by Psychology Today found that how parents interact with smartphones directly affects how their children interact.

The study also goes on to report that when parents are engaged intensely with a smartphone, “…Children showed increased distress, lower positive emotion, and lower exploration and engagement with toys.”

There is so much more information that is needed to understand how much engagement is too much, how much is enough, and where the balance can exist for parents and children alike.

Fencing is a Perfect Mental and Physical Break

I posted this article a few months ago and had a parent approach me about it while we were at Summer Nationals. His child has been participating in their local fencing club for almost a year (this was his first Summer Nationals). He wanted to thank me for the article because reading it made him have an “aha” moment.

He told me that last summer, at this point during their summer break, his son was living off of Netflix and his iPhone. He was a bit lazy, a bit sluggish, had trouble sleeping, and it was hard to motivate him to do anything, much less participate in a competitive sport.

The dad had encouraged him to try their local fencing club after a friend of his sons was talking about it with them. Now, almost a year later, this child is one of the most devoted kids in his fencing class. He’s lost some weight, he sleeps better, and he has a ton more energy.

But the dad hadn’t realized what had changed until reading our blog. Sure he was spending far less time on the couch and his smartphone, and way more time practicing and exercising. But the dad told me that he had found a purpose and a physical escape instead of a technology escape.

Fencing is a Lifelong Sport

Football, soccer, and many other traditional team sports can become a bit more difficult as we get older. The task of finding other players or a league to play with, with equally skilled players is tricky. Yes, of course, you can find an adult league, but ultimately it can be challenging to maintain interest and physical participation in sports like these that rely on games and competitions.

Without regular practice or participation, your skill set can decline as well.

Fencing is a sport you can practice for your entire life. In some ways, you don’t even need someone to practice against! (Although, it’s way more fun if you can find a good sparring partner).

Learning how to fence is a great way to engage your body in physical movement and your mind in mental agility. It’s also a great distraction from school stress, and later, work stress (as well as your digital communication method of choice).  Choosing a sport like fencing to give you a break is something you can rely on for many years to come. Technology will change and evolve, but your love and passion for the sport may never cease.

Smartphones aren’t going away anytime soon so instead of fighting your kids or your family members to put down their phones, consider introducing new hobbies, or encouraging your child to develop an interest in a current one further.

This is a great way to give a smartphone junky a break from their digital world, while also encouraging face to face time.

You could also consider Incorporating technology breaks, which can last a few minutes to a few hours depending on your family’s needs and goals. And be sure to consider fencing as one of those breaks. It can seriously be a fun escape for the whole family.  

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1 Comment

  1. R

    Smartphones are kids’ access to the world’s knowledge and culture. which they use instead for games or messaging. When I see a kid playing a video game instead of practicing, I ask (within parent’s hearing) “Isn’t there a math game you could be playing?” This is a parenting problem as much as kids’ obsession.

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