Sometimes when it’s rainy or cold, or I just feel good, I like to plan out my whole day- I’ll open my window, listen to records, paint some watercolors, and do some collaging. Nine times out of ten, I end up sitting on my bed in front of my laptop with pizza in my mouth and Netflix clogging up my history. The scary part is, this probably sounds familiar to a lot of people.
I am and forever will be glued to a screen. My first instinct when I wake up is to check the news, check the weather, and check social media- all on my phone. I squint in the dark as I force myself to adapt to a blinding light that I need in order to get all my information, because I now have this uncontrollable urge to know something as soon as it’s happening. I remember days in April when I planned my whole day around watching my favorite bands’ livestreams at Coachella, sometimes even staying up as late as 4 in the morning to see Yannis Philippakis stage dive into a crowd of cool Californians on my laptop.
I use my phone everywhere and for everything. It’s my GPS, camera, mp3 player (is that phrase too outdated now?), and so much more. I use it at home, at school, late at night in bed, and even at the movies, which is pretty ridiculous.
I recently noticed how common it is to see packs of teenagers having a moment of silence while each one checks their phone, responds to a text, or tweets about whatever they’re doing. I find it happening a lot with my friends, too. It even seems like it’s a silent competition now- whenever I don’t have a new text, Snapchat, or any notification while the person next to me has tons, I feel dejected and just stare at my phone or check the news. Many of my friends also admit to this- and this feeling is even accompanied by loneliness.
Even at concerts, viewing performances through screens even while physically being there is not uncommon now. People are perpetually on their phones taking pictures or shaky video, only for it to be uploaded later on Youtube, looking like it was recorded with a potato. Sometimes you just have to give up, put down the phone, and enjoy the sight of seeing real sweat on real musicians.
This isn’t supposed to be a long rant about me bashing technology. Technology is great, amazing even, and so are smartphones. You can text someone in the blink of an eye, always be connected, and always be in the know. But is it taking us away from truly experiencing life? Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I turned off my phone not just because it froze and I needed to restart it. I always need to feel connected and aware.
As much as I love checking up on what Beyoncé is up to (let’s be honest, who doesn’t?), it’s just as important that I take time for myself and not let my self-esteem get whittled away by something as petty as jealousy over how much attention my friends are receiving via the Internet. The thing is, there’s a secret to fight back to all of this negativity. Embrace technology and make it your own! Take as many selfies as you want, be happy for yourself as well as others, and use the Internet to create a positive space for you and your friends. So let’s like each other’s selfies on Instagram, leave compliments on Facebook photos, and send supportive Snapchats- but let’s not forget to love ourselves too.