Take a look at that lovely device you’re using right now. Or maybe the one that’s in your lap. Yeah! Your phone. We all have one. We all use it way more than we’d like to admit, and the potential effects of that are quite frankly terrifying. I know I know, I probably sound like that one older adult in your life, but behind every one of those lectures is a whole lot of truth. All lectures aside, here are five reasons to take a break and just enjoy the world that’s going on around you, right now!
- Realize it’s an Addiction
I know, addiction is a strong word, but for many of us, including myself, it is necessary. Think of the last time you purposely left your house to go somewhere without your phone. How about the last time you didn’t look at your phone right before you went to bed? It is scary to think about. Several times, someone almost ran into me outside because they were staring at their phone on the sidewalk or on the street. The fact that 1.6 million car crashes are due to texting behind the wheel indicates that this is a huge problem right now. If you can’t put your phone down while you’re driving a vehicle, I’m sorry, but you are addicted. Being mindful of this is the first step to a life not ruled by your phone. Something I use to help me to be mindful every day is the Screen Time setting on the iPhone. This way you can give yourself limits, or even track how long you use your phone every day. That is the real wake up call.
- Psychological Consequences
Leaning on your phone at all times as a crutch can cause or worsen mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, and attention deficit disorders. Research finds that those who are more dependent on their phones every day are at higher risk for these negative psychological effects. It isn’t healthy and it isn’t helping us mentally in any way whatsoever. It can also lower your self-esteem, it sure has mine at times. Mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter and constantly comparing your body to theirs, your number of likes to theirs. Of course, it’s going to affect our mental health! We are always up close and personal with someone’s best side. Sometimes it’s important to take a step back from all of that and realize that hey, we are all human and worthy. Whether your picture got 500 likes or 5.
I’ll be the first to admit to this one: our phones are an easy escape. In an awkward situation? Just scroll through your phone. Don’t want to talk to the person sitting beside you in class? Just pull your phone out. Whatever it is, we’ve all at one point or another avoided confrontation or communication through our devices. And as comforting as it is in the moment, it isn’t helping us grow! Communication is one of the most important tools we can obtain. Especially in college. When you have to make new friends, talk to a professor, or get a job, your phone won’t be there to do that for you. The best things in life come out of in-person communication and experience. So maybe next time you’re sitting by a stranger in class, strike up a conversation instead of gazing into your phone. After all, you never know what one conversation will lead to.
- The Unknown
There’s a whole list of scary things that can come from staring at a screen for hours upon hours a day for years. We just haven’t seen all of those effects come to fruition yet. After all, our parents didn’t have these types of issues growing up, so we’re the first set of people to be through this. And a lot of it is frightening to think about. Everything from sleep disorders to migraines, to chronic illness! Another thing to consider is how this light is affecting our eyes. I just purchased a pair of blue light blocking glasses that claim to protect your eyes from the light that comes from TVs, phones, and laptops. Blue light damage to the eye can cause things from dizziness to headaches, some researchers even indicate it can lead to vision loss. Not only that, but some scientists have been researching the electromagnetic fields that are given off by mobile devices and say it is possible that this radiofrequency can trigger cancer in the future. Again, this is something that they won’t know for sure until we’re old and seeing these effects occurring more frequently. But the fact that it is a possibility is enough for me to put my phone down more often.
- You’re Missing Out On….Life!
We miss a lot when we spend hours a day looking down at a device in our hands. Think about all the events you’ve been to this year, all the family gatherings, every time you’ve hung out with a friend, and how many times you’ve looked away to check your phone. I know I don’t want to live with the regret of missing a beautiful moment in my life because I just had to check how many likes my last Instagram post got. There is so much more to life than that. Leave your phone at home next time you go somewhere with someone. Enjoy their company and their company only. Take in every experience and memory you make. Remember your worth and purpose don’t depend on social media.