Why My Boyfriend Hates Candy Crush

“It’s sad when I am with my grandchildren and they are constantly like this with their smartphones,” someone recently shared with me as she mimed hunching over a smartphone. “But the saddest part is that I’m doing it too.”

This is nothing new. Cell phones and smartphones have become ingrained into our tech-savy societies today. When I was growing up, I didn’t have a cell phone until high school, and I didn’t get a smart phone until around my junior year of college. The thing is, I didn’t feel like I needed one. Since the campus had wi-fi, I could always check my email with my iPod. It was only when I went to renew my phone contract and get a new phone that I saw the not smart phone selection was of such poor quality! And now, ever since I switched from an Android to an iPhone (about three months now), I have become more addicted to those stupid games (Candy Crush Saga and Sims Freelife). And while yes, those games are fun and fill up those small voids of free time, such as sitting on a train, I have recently realized how much these phones disconnect us from people — and the people we love.

My boyfriend hates Candy Crush with a fiery passion. He lets out an exasperated sigh whenever he sees me on it. To give some context, I’m on level 350. Yowza. He has adopted a “Three Strikes” rule. Basically, he gives me a strike when he notices me on the game and I have up to three strikes a day before I must quit the app. At first, I didn’t understand why it got under his skin so much. Sometimes I’d play while he was busy doing his own thing or while we were watching a TV show. But then he shared with me one day that it really bothers him because there are times when he begins to be affectionate, like holding me closer, but I don’t reciprocate or really notice because I am so focused on the game. And I felt so terrible when I realized that I was giving my attention to a game over someone I love. And to make things worse, even though I now know why he hates me playing Candy Crush, I haven’t stopped playing. I just play less in his presence.

To be honest, I do miss the simpler days, when we aren’t tapped into the net 24/7. Why can’t we leave the house for a day without our phones? After all, no one calls us these days (not many anyway). I miss when I would read for hours on end, without an desire to do anything else. These days reading for thirty minutes is a challenge because our phones and emails and feeds call out to us, “Cheeeeck meeeeee.”

Lately there have been some videos critiquing smartphones that have gone viral. The first (that I saw) was this movie by Charlene deGuzman, titled I Forgot My Phone. Gawker describes it as “a short film she wrote about life in these modern, soul-sucking, smartphone-saturated times.”

The video makes me realize all over again how much we miss out on when we’re so busy trying to record it or share it on our phones. We forget how to have debates and deep conversations because we google the answer instead. We don’t give our full attention to what we are doing, or who we are doing it with.

And here is the latest viral post I’ve seen on smart phones, where Louis C.K. explains why he hates smartphones:

Louis C.K. first starts by explaining how toxic smart phones are, especially for kids who haven’t truly learned empathy yet. Being able to truly interact and understand people. Instead we have kids learning to read into Facebook statuses and Facebook likes (explored in this short film Noah). People don’t grow to have intelligent conversations with their peers in real life anymore.

But C.K.’s second point is just as poignant. He talks about our fear of being alone. We are so afraid of being by ourselves that we would rather text while driving instead of being all right with being in our own skins. And it hinders us from really feeling at all. By blocking out loneliness, we also block out happiness. By blocking out being alone, we also block out true introspection.

You know that spare moment on the train when you’re surrounded by strangers? In the past, we would look around and really look at people (while trying to pretend we aren’t looking) — at least I would. We would see real faces with real stories. We hear the clamor of the train tracks. We see how physically uncomfortable someone is in the crowded train, and we get up and offer our seat. Instead, today, we put on our headphones to block out the world. We hunch over our phones are play a game or read an article or check our emails. We don’t look at the scenery outside. We don’t imagine stories about everyone around us. Our phones become a buffer between us and the world.

Am I saying we should all throw out our phones? Well, ok, we all know it’s not really going to happen. But all of us smartphone users should really try and forget about our phones sometimes. Turn off those notifications that tell you to play a game. Turn off all those reminders about work. Hell, turn off your phone! For even just an hour or two (I swear, everything will still be where you left it). And invite some friends over! Have a dinner party. Learn to cook risotto with them. Play a game or two or three of Settlers of Catan (gosh, it’s so addicting! – but at least you’re playing with real people). I swear you won’t regret it because this was my last Saturday, and it was a blast.

So addicting!


3 thoughts on “Why My Boyfriend Hates Candy Crush

  1. Victoria says:

    I was totally reading your blogpost on my smartphone during my break at work! Also guilty of playing candy crush…although I am nowhere near level 350! 0_0 It was okay when my boyfriend played it with me, but less fun now that he has gotten bored before me. Either way, there are definitely better ways to spend our time and I agree with many of your observations.


    • Alice L says:

      Ha ha, yeah. I’m not saying smartphones are the worst thing in the world. I like reading on mine too. The problem arises when we let the phones take priority over the people we’re with. And let’s face it, they have to be more important than Candy Crush.


  2. Sherry Turkle says some similar stuff in this TED earlier than Louis:

    I’m glad my partner’s children who are now both in their early 30’s, aren’t interested in their iphones when they visit us. They just aren’t naturally interested.

    Neither my partner nor I have a cellphone –yet. We joke that we just may not hear the cellphone ring while either of us are biking along since we live a cycling lifestyle.

    But honest, it is foreign for us to see couples at a restaurant, where the couple is not talking to one another but separately on cellpones.

    I’ve sat beside 2 people, where clearly it was a social “date” of 2 people who didn’t know one another initially….and 1 person is still texting/looking at their iphone. What a turn off.

    As for being alone…and sucking in the silence around you without distractions of technology: become clear in the head and allow yourself sit there, doing nothing and observe things, observe the ebbs and flows inside yourself.


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