Take a second and think about your morning routine. What’s the first thing you do after you wake up? Do you brush your teeth? Wash your face? Take a shower? Or a combination of the three? Unfortunately for me, my cell phone is the first thing I consult after catching a few solid hours of sleep every night. But I don’t gloss through emails or glance through Facebook, Instagram or Twitter just for the hell of it. I don’t scroll through my newsfeed or unfollow incessant sub-tweeters just because I have nothing better to do at 8:00am.

Every morning, I surrender myself to social media because I feel oddly disconnected from the world if I ignore the whirlwind of online news and ever-changing gossip revealed on the internet. I read and respond to emails in the wee hours of the morning because in today’s world, with the most current technological advancements, people expect you to answer their questions or fulfill their requests immediately. It’s almost impossible to escape the virtual world of notifications that dictates our lives.

Red flags bring our attention to new Facebook posts, blue flags inform us of new Twitter followers, and orange flags remind us of new Instagram photos that were uploaded after last night’s party. We’re unable to ignore these notifications because it’s difficult to separate ourselves from the platforms that allow us to document our lives on a daily basis. If we forget to check our social media profiles before bedtime, then we fall asleep feeling uneasy because we’ve locked ourselves outside of the world where living happens – the world where our lives are recorded through chains of posts and threads of pictures.

Smart phones provide us with constant access to these social media platforms. Our daily lives are interrupted by the red balloons that pop up on our home screens; these notifications encourage us to disrupt our normal routines even though we recognize that the ‘love’ we might or might not receive on Facebook has no direct correlation to our own self-worth.

Honestly, the reality is that we’ve all been duped by social media. We’ve all been sucked into these online portals because we have the ability to enhance our image by cropping out the parts we don’t find good enough to share with the public. Sure, social media has done a bunch of good for the world. We’re able to connect with friends from all over the globe, we’re able to raise national awareness for worthy causes, and we’re able to express our opinions to a wider audience.

But the dangerous combination of cell-phones and social media is truly affecting the way in which we live our lives. Instead of submitting to the overwhelming urges we might have to scroll through Facebook or check our emails, we must learn how to silence our phones in order to realize the beauty our real lives in the real world. Spending quality time with quality people is the best way to spend our days. But we can’t even begin to make memories if our eyes are constantly glued to our phone screens. Although our cellphones follow us like faithful shadows, we certainly have the ability to shift our attention to more important things in life.

So let’s make a pact, you and I, to decrease our phone usage so that we can spend more time enjoying life with the people that matter most. I’m all in. Are you?