When was the last time you truly connected with someone, face to face, with no distractions? How often do you find yourself grabbing your phone and mindlessly checking all of your social platforms? In a society overwhelmed with media and concerns about our online presence, it is hard for us to break away and spend more time in reality.

We depend on our phones. They get us through traffic, boring bus rides, and long walks to class. This dependence could possibly be decreasing our ability to form true social connections. I believe media and technology can strengthen connections in a broader sense, but they can also cause us to fail at interacting with the people and the issues around us.

Our phones can cause us to miss out on life. Before smartphones, casual conversation was tolerated. As a kid, I would spend endless hours running around outside with friends, creating our own entertainment. Changes in technology lead to changes in society, so it makes sense that the way we interact with one another has also changed.

According to a study completed in 2014, the development of cell phones has actually ruined our social skills. We are likely to mind our own business, stay within our social bubble, and follow up with our areas of interest on our little devices. This dependency, in a way, creates isolation. Instead of smiling at strangers or getting to know our classmates, we pour our attention into our screens. Are our communication devices creating an anti-social environment?

Smartphones prove to be distractions in everyday life. It is easy to fall into the trap of constant scrolling, avoiding real-life responsibilities and opportunities. We repeatedly check our phones within a given hour. It is hard to study with a phone just sitting out on a desk because our eyes and brains have become conditioned to crave our smartphones. The more time you spend scrolling through feed, the harder it is to go without it. There is always that small urge to catch up on the latest news or posts.

Media's influence on our minds can be draining as well. What you fill your head with has a tremendous impact on your mood and wellbeing. Think of all the comparison felt upon looking at Instagram posts. How do you mentally feel after sitting on your phone for an hour? Everything from the images we see to the tweets we read filter through our brain. If checking your phone is the first thing you do in the morning, then you have already started your day by filling it with negativity and countless amounts of images, possibly influencing your mood and thoughts.

However, not everything on the internet and social media are negative. They are both resourceful tools. Without a doubt, our phones serve as an outlet to communication and creativity, linking us to the outside world. But when we let it infiltrate our reality or become our obsession, we are directed away from forming deeper, meaningful relationships with the people around us.