*My dad banging on my bedroom door* “Rachel! Wake up; you’re going to be late to school again!”
I grumpily pull the covers over my face and mumble, “Go away! I’m tired.”
It’s 7:30 in the morning. The sun is beaming into my eyes through the crack of my curtains. And even though I am going to be late to school once again and I am still half asleep with my face shoved into my pillow, I start flopping my hand all over my nightstand to find my phone.
I slowly roll over to my side still with my tired, squinted eyes and click the home button of my phone. Then BAM, my phone is blowing up with notifications. And all of the sudden, I’m wide awake with an enormous smile plastered on my face like I just drank a Red Bull.
This feeling is almost like waking up on Christmas morning with all the beautifully wrapped gifts under the tree just screaming “OPEN ME.” Except for this time, it’s notifications filling up my phone from text messages, to Instagram likes, Snapchats and more VSCO followers just giving me the temptation to open them.
And once you open one you get this feeling that just “forces” you to open another until the rest are all gone. And once they’re all gone what do we do? Wait for another one to come and another one and another one. The cycle becomes endless and most undoubtedly addictive like a drug.
I find it surreal that this small, battery operated, material object can bring such a considerable amount of prosperity to my life. Every morning, I wake up and gravitate towards my phones after I was sleeping for at least a couple hours. Shouldn’t I wake up and greet my parents with a meaningful good morning or take care of my well-being before I focus directly on the technology?
Back in the day, there wasn’t Instagram, Snapchat, or even Facebook. So what did people do when they woke up? They would greet their parents, eat breakfast, get ready for the day, and do things that fulfilled their needs. Now I go straight to social media all the way from the second I open my crusty eyes to the mid-text I fall asleep to. And then I repeat it all over again the next day.
We all have those days when we forget our phone in our car, back at home, or at a class. For those minutes or hours that I go without it, I feel empty; with a part of my soul ripped away from me. I sit there and tap my feet just relying on the clock to speed up the time so that I can be reunited with my phone once again.
Once I get my phone back, I feel whole again. And then I get sucked back into all the social media, checking every account possible. I don’t realize how immense of a problem this is because I am so addicted to my phone.
My speculation believes that I rely so much on technology to fulfill our striatum part of the brain. This part becomes activated when we receive compliments; it also becomes activated when we earn money. It signals our mind to motivate us to keep going. From this, I feel that we aren’t capable of obtaining contentment from our own opinion and perspective from the way perceive ourselves to the goals we aspire to accomplish.
Social media has its pros and cons, but the way our generation is moving, I believe it’s for the worse in the conclusion of it all.
I started to recognize the problem throughout everyday activities. First off, when I'm walking around the school during passing periods, all I notice is everyone’s face glued to their phone like it’s a magnet. Or when I go out to dinner, and I look at a table across from mine and notice that every child at the table has their faces plastered to the big, glowy screen playing Angry Birds. And even when I hang out with my friends, everyone is just on their phones checking their social media accounts, and no one is creating conversation even though we're sitting right next to each other.
Our generation and the ones coming ahead are going to be very poor at face to face conversations. And when it comes to having intellectual discussions with your peers, they will fail to keep the conversation rolling.
The best moments of our lives are when we experience it. Without all the technology. Like when you travel and experience the beautiful scenery, or when you go to a concert and sing and dance all night long to your favorite artist, or when you go to a coffee shop and start talking to that random guy sitting across from you. Those are the moments we live for and that we will remember for years down the road. Not the Instagram like we got on our bikini picture or the text message we got from the boy or girl we have a crush on. Those are impractical compared to the real-life scenarios we create ourselves.
Today I hope to see change; I hope to see people take a step away from their phones and enjoy the present moment because the more I look around, the less interaction I see and the less living we do as a whole country.
Let’s start by waking up and saying good morning to your loved ones, creating a conversation with that boy or girl you’ve always wanted to talk to or grab coffee with one of your old teachers to catch up about how their life is going. Start by creating real-life experiences, and when you look down the road, those will be the moments you’ll remember for eternity. As an anonymous soul once said, “Ask yourself this, are you living or just existing?”