By Viktoria Ristanovic
Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, repeat. This is the cycle I find myself engaging in for the majority of my day. If I’m not on my phone, I’m restless and anxious. My phone is my security blanket and the more I look around me, the more I realize it had become nearly everyone’s security blanket.
It’s increasingly blaring that the world is becoming too dependent on technology, especially on cell phones and computers. Technology and cell phone addiction has become a real thing. It’s sad that there are signs all over highways and roads telling drivers to just put down their phones and drive because there have been too many accidents due to people texting and driving.
According to a Daily Mail article on cell phone addiction, studies have shown that mobile device owners check their phones every six minutes and up to 150 times a day. That’s terrifying, mainly because it’s making me realize just how addicted I am to my own phone and how addicted everyone I know is based off my own observations.
Research has shown that people who unplug from their technological devices even for a little bit can do wonders to their physical and mental health. Time Magazine reported that researchers discovered that one in three people felt more dissatisfied with their lives after visiting sites like Instagram and Facebook. Powering down helps get rid of unhealthy feelings of envy and loneliness due to social media.
Solitude is harder to find when you’re always “on” and connected. After constantly being immersed in social media, checking emails and keeping up with your online persona, it’s hard to ground yourself and have a quiet headspace.
For me personally, my thoughts are constantly racing a mile a minute, not only due to stress from school, but also from the constant distraction from my cell phone and laptop.
Experts recommend college students get involved in activities such as yoga, working out or meditation. Not only will this force you to stay off your phone, but it will center you, ground you and, depending on the activity, give your body a nice stretch and break.
Yoga and meditation help improve focus as well. Too much technology leads to lack of focus on important tasks and causes trouble with controlling impulses while doing important tasks. Have you ever taken 20 social media breaks in a half-hour while writing a huge essay?
The next time you are hanging out with a friend, observe how long you or your friend go without checking your phone during the conversation. You may be shocked when you realize how often your distractions cause you to check your device for notifications.
Real-life connections enrich our lives and bring us true laughter, joy and happiness. Technology blocks that and takes all of our time and attention away from more important things such as academics, social lives, personal relationships and more.
Cell phone addiction goes beyond mental impairment. “Tech neck” is a real issue teens and adults are suffering from. It’s caused by the constant hunched over position of being on your phone or sitting at your desk while typing and staring at the computer.
Technology ruins posture and weakens your muscles that hold up your spine. Some tips to try to help with tech neck are holding your device at eye level, looking down with your eyes instead of your head, resting your eyes often, being mindful of your posture when using digital devices and taking three-minute breaks every 15 to 20 minutes spent on your device.
Take back your consciousness and your mindspace by powering off from technology, even if it’s once a week. Be more conscious of your cell phone use. Cell phone addiction is a real thing that is linked to depression and anxiety and if you see yourself craving to check your phone, don’t feed into it. Distract yourself by watching a movie, reading a book or hanging out with a friend.
There is a quote that I often go back to during times of frustration and stress as a college student: “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”