By Rachael Galindo, Student at The University of Arizona and Co-Creator of Stick 2 Reality
In today’s society, it’s hard to imagine a world without technology. Technology is used almost everywhere we go to improve communication and productivity. Although technology does come with its benefits, it has quite a few downfalls. As a member of Gen Z, I adapted to and have grown up using digital devices. My generation doesn’t know a world without cell phones and advanced technology. We don’t know a world where communication had to be either in-person or through a home phone. Most of all, we don’t know a world where social media and TikTok videos aren’t used as a pastime. I often wonder what a world would be like without so many technology distractions. Would people be happier? Would the world be less connected? Would relationships be more genuine?
The LookUp movement is one I really felt I could get behind because I understand that there is an issue with the overuse of technology within Gen Z. Technology overuse is a problem I struggle with myself: sometimes, I get lost in TikTok videos for hours without realizing how much time has passed me by. In the times that I overuse technology, I could have picked up a new skill or hobby. If I could gain back the time I spent watching TikTok, I would practice my singing and artistic skills.
I see the most misuse of technology when I’m with my friends. Most of the time when we hang out, my friends ignore me because they are so consumed by their phones. Not only do I lose quality time with my friends, but also I feel extremely disrespected. A part of me also feels sympathetic because they are too glued to technology to even realize it’s a problem affecting their real-life relationships. They are more comfortable staring at a little screen than looking up and taking in the environment around them. What frustrates me the most is knowing that there was once a world where people did not have to worry about being ignored by a phone, and I never got to be a part of that world. Sometimes, I make a deal with my friends in order to gain back face-to-face hangouts: I make us all promise to put our phones away and lock them up for the duration of the hangout.
When my team and I were assigned to the LookUp movement through our club, Blue-Chip, we had no idea how we were going to tackle the issue. We brainstormed together as a group to try and think of our own ways that remind us to limit our phone usage. We also felt it was important to limit the idea from being some form of application on technology. If the idea was to limit tech use, then it made sense for our solution not to be tech-based. Finally, after brainstorming for a couple of days, we landed on the idea of using stickers as a reminder to stay off our phones. Stickers are everywhere and are widely popular among members of Gen Z. The more colorful, creative, funny, and interesting the sticker, the more likely we were to see that sticker on every laptop, cell phone, and water bottle.
As a team, we decided that every sticker should have the words “Look Up” incorporated into the design as a reminder to take a break from technology. During our sticker ideation process, we also decided that our stickers will be subscription-based, and we will come out with new monthly stickers to keep the message relevant. We also felt it was important to come up with a way for others to get involved. Since none of my teammates or myself are artists, we’re challenging others to get involved by submitting a hand drawn sticker of their own for a chance to have their sticker featured for the month!
As my team and I continue to bring our idea to the surface for Gen Z, we are running our first prototype sticker test run on our friends to see how we can improve our idea. In order to track if the stickers have an influence on our friend’s technology usage, we will be using a pre- and post-sticker questionnaire. We as a team are excited to see how our idea progresses, and we want to remind others to Stick 2 Reality!