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Imagine this: You are sixteen years old and you’ve been grounded because your parents caught you sneaking Natural Lights into the basement of your family home while you and your friends feel the thrill of adrenaline after the first sip. But, you were caught and your parents did the unthinkable. They took away your phone and the pain and unjust you felt was earth-shattering. However, as we age more people are still reliant on their phones and seemingly are unable to live life without them. So I ask, is your phone ruining your life?

How are you managing life with a phone? These hard and greasy fingerprint filled devices that give and take so much in the lives and brains of impressionable college students like you and me. Example: this thing started happening to me where I’d start to doze off and instead of the silhouetted dreams and fantasies I used to see, this mixture of my actual life and my suppressed dreams and fears, there was a series of photos I could scroll through, just like Instagram. I was literally having nightmares about Instagram. So I took almost every app off my phone and now just do email and work-related stuff on my computers (talking to you Slack), and use my phone for news and music and Instastories about influencers that are making a lot of money and musicians I admire only. So I am going to go through some factors that may convince you that your phone could be ruining your life.

You aren’t paying attention

Technology may be a structural problem, but we as a society seem to have a habit that includes submission to a phone. When someone is without their phone we feel a frantic buzzing void that leaves us itching to check it.

With this, true attention has become a rare commodity, and the first thing our phone dependency does is disassemble our attention so we become so dismissive and oblivious that I’m not convinced we really remember what “real life” looks like. When someone talks about how technology has taken over their life, they seem so shocked. Like “I get so distracted when I’m trying to study, I can’t read more than a page before I have to check Instagram” That is unfortunate. Are you going to do anything to fix it? No? Okay. What bothers me about this sort of attitude is it seems like no one ever does anything to fix that issue. It’s an issue that relates to the inner-self, and to feeling good about yourself, your life, and genuinely feeling better. You can’t really be aware of yourself, or even be aware of what you think and want if you’re never surrounded by quiet space, alone, or bothered. If you are only receiving notifications from texts, snaps, and emails, you’re becoming passive and not truly living your best life in my opinion.

Our psyche seems to now regard Snapchat and Instagram as everyday essentials, and ultimately they aren’t. Instagram has ingrained us to desire the wealth, taste and beauty that we see on our feeds. But how much of it is real? Likely not much. So again, I’m asking you to reevaluate your relati0nship with your phone. The pleasure, and the reassurance that you feel you are lacking come when you can actually return to yourself and be alone. Let that phone fall out of your hand and into a dark abyss. In my case, it’s my nightstand junk drawer. Yes, it takes me some time to stop reaching for it, but give me an hour and I feel free.

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