The internet has existed for less than 35 years, but it has already become a huge part of our daily lives. It has made life easier and given us access to many things that we didn’t have earlier. At the tip of our fingertips we can find the answer to any question we might have. It allows us to keep in contact with friends and loved ones.

However, besides all the good the internet and technology have brought us, what are the downsides? Have you ever found yourself spending hours on Pinterest, constantly checking your Instagram feed, or refreshing your Facebook every hour? Where does this obsession for digital devices come from? No matter where you go, someone is on their phone. It seems we are losing our sense of physical communication and relying more on technology to stay connected. This communication through technology is allowing easier access to do so, but we’re losing our intimacy as humans. Digital conversations lack so many things like eye contact, body language, sincerity, and tone of voice. Looking deeper into the reasoning behind this obsession, are we simply extremely invested in the lives of our friends/acquaintances, or are we addicted to the distraction?

Thirty-five years ago, the internet did not exist. It wasn’t taking so many hours of our precious time away from us. But today, children between the ages of eight and eighteen spend an average of seven and a half hours a day on digital media. When the use of more than one digital device at a time is taken into consideration, they spend more than ten and a half hours a day with digital technologies. Many millennials multitask daily using technology, for example; students nowadays can study while listening to music or watching Netflix in the background. By constantly distracting ourselves with technology, it has hindered us from giving our full attention to something. Many people are in denial about their technology addiction, or don’t feel that it is an issue in their personal lives. Ask yourself when the last time you read a book was. When did you last exercise instead of skipping the gym to watch Netflix? How is technology making your life better or worse?

Our online lives are not a supplement to our real lives, and though they are connected, they are far from the same. Every hour spent virtually is an hour taken from the physical world. Observe those around you when you’re in public. We no longer look up and around, discovering the world with eager eyes. Instead, we look down and distract ourselves with artificial counterfeit pleasures. Technology is a blessing, but also a curse. Users are either too immersed or completely excluded, and because of this, it’s hard to find the middle ground. Take a look at your digital usage and determine if it is helping your life or wasting hours of your precious time. Go outside, take a walk, and leave your phone behind. Be present in each moment and refrain from unnecessary distractions. There’s a great big world out there that can’t be discovered from behind a screen.