IT’S TIME TO PUT THE PHONE DOWN


Recently, I have experienced too many people who just cannot seem to put down their phone for the life of them. I work at a restaurant and I find it extremely rude when I approach with both my arms full of hot plates, trying to place them in front of patrons, but they are too busy taking selfies and “liking” things on social media to clear space on the table. This inconsiderate behavior needs to change.

Steven Corona, chief technology officer of Twitpic, went 30 days without social media. He stopped using Facebook, Twitter and Reddit for more than 30 days, a time period he describes as “the most successful month of my existence.” During the 30 days, he obviously had withdrawals, but he eventually began to write, then he wrote a book, meditated, built stronger friendships, and even competed.

Yes, I found this information on a social media site, but we need to realize we use too much social media for our own good. We need to take breaks from our phones, tablets and laptops and realize how overly dependent we have become on social media.

According to the website Digital Marketing Ramblings, there are 1.35 billion users on Facebook, 194.6 million bloggers on Tumblr, 284 million users on Twitter, 200 million Instagram users, and 100 million Snapchatters. I’m sure the numbers drastically increase daily, but the numbers are staggering nonetheless.

And yes, I have a Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Messenger and Instagram. Sometimes I get so engrossed, I catch myself looking through my phone absent-mindedly.

And then realize I just wasted precious time with no productive results.

Social media can damage our life without our realizing it. It affects us in many ways, including our communication, self-expression, bullying, friendships and even our own mental health. I’m sure we’ve all felt sad, left out, alone or forgotten because we’ve seen others having a good time on their social media posts while we are not.

The more social media we use, the worse we get, and we may not even realize it until we catch ourselves feeling depressed or losing friends. We scroll over posts and compare ourselves to them, see how much their lives are supposedly better than ours and it hurts us; it makes us sad. We begin to isolate ourselves and disconnect from the real world because the glowing screen in front of us is monopolizing our energies. We are losing touch with each other when we should be getting closer. Yet we can still make a change.

Like Corona, try to imagine your life without social media and all the benefits you could have if you unplugged. Life seemed simpler when we didn’t have screens in our faces 24/7. I know it seems like such a long time ago, but before Facebook and other social media, people would actually have to talk to each other face to face. It seems like such a luxury nowadays to be able to talk to someone without them whipping out their phones to check Snapchats or comments on their Facebook. We all should try leaving social media, even for a day, with a group of your friends and see the results for yourself.

Don’t let the fear of not being in the loop and up to date stop you from achieving some peace of mind. We need to stop depending on social media so often and talk to each other, build bonds with each other again. Be the life of the party, not the death of your mental health.

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