Almost everyone near you has a phone today. Even young children are receiving a phone as early as third grade. Growing up with and around technology constantly can be beneficial—constantly sharing with distant friends or relatives, creating incredible content, getting to share about one’s own life constantly, and just having the overall sense of belonging to the world.

However, far more often than not, we put the phone in a higher place of priority than in-person interactions. Many times, people will be in a conversation and one will have their phone up in their face claiming to be paying attention but in reality, the brain can’t handle that two sources of information at once. During concerts, speakers, or graduation ceremonies (when you will see these people for maybe the last time) the phones are up and capturing the moment instead of your own eyes and heart. I, along with almost everyone else who has a phone, am guilty of this. I am only 21 years old and sometimes I just want my friends and I to put our phones and laptops away and just talk, just be present. I find myself saying more often than not, “I wish cell phones just didn’t exist for a while.”

There will never be another lifetime without digital technology. It is far too important and essential in today’s day and age. I am no grouch against using technology for good but there needs to be times where you put your phone down and just BE for the sake of yours and others well beings.

When someone is talking to you, lock your phone and place it face down or in a pocket.

I know I have done this to others but it’s also been done to me too. It is incredibly hurtful when you’re telling someone something important and they are glued to Twitter or their email. They may say they are listening, but what the person talking is seeing is just a distracted pair of eyes. You might feel unimportant, disregarded, or unworthy of a conversation if someone is looking down on their phone or on their laptop when you’re trying to engage in a conversation.

Record two or three of your favorite songs at a concert. Then, keep your phone in your pocket or purse for the rest of the night.

I have attended a concert where I watched the entire show through my camera lense, and another concert where I barely recorded the artist. Which one do you think I liked better? I had a much better experience and overall accomplished feeling after the concert where I forced myself to put my phone in my pocket and just enjoyed the music. I got a solid amount of pictures and a handful of snippets of videos around my favorite songs. (Just enough to show people I was there because that’s apparently what you’re supposed to do when you go to concerts, right?).

If you’re attending a speaker turn your phone off.

If someone has the guts to talk for an hour, more or less, in a large, or small crowd of people, give that person some respect. Especially in small crowds, it’s more likely that speaker will see you on your phone and they might get extremely offended or discouraged. If that speaker is an important person, then you’ve already ruined your first impression and they will only know the top of your head. If that person speaking has no content to say relevant to your being, who cares. Still listen. Learn something new.

Although it is everything to put down your phone for the sake of others, it’s also important because you might be missing out on one in a lifetime events, people, and experiences. It’s fun to have a picture or video to look back on, and yeah Instagram is crucial to keep up with (I guess) but you won’t have that feeling specific captured. You might miss a huge detail while simultaneously trying to capture them all.

So put the phone down for others, but most importantly, put it down for yourself.