It’s time to unplug

Melody Oyinkansola, Guest Columnist

Is social media taking over our lives? Can you really give up your phone for a week straight?

I recently lost my phone out of carelessness. I had put it on top of my aunt’s car at church and forgot it there and she drove away with it.  Something that has been driving me nuts during these few weeks is the fact that I can’t easily check my social media. I’ve even gone through the trouble of asking my friends whenever I’m around them if I can use their phones.

How sad is that? Is that what social media has brought us to, that we feel as though we have no life because we can’t post on our snapchat or instagram? Forty-six percent of smartphone users now say that their devices are something they couldn’t live without, according to a new Pew Research Center survey —  Forty-six percent percent.

We have let these little devices literally become our lives like we weren’t living without them just a few decades ago. In this generation social media has become a way of life. Without social media a lot of people, not only teenagers but adults and even children, feel socially non-existent without them.

Some people might argue that social media has helped us to progress in this generation by creating the ability to communicate with people outside of those that are just around us. But this new method of communication has made us so focused on what everyone else is posting and doing, it has made us lose touch of the people right in front of us.

Are we really progressing as a generation if we can’t even have conversations with the people around us because we are so fixated on what is going on in our phones? Due to the fact that I now have no phone I have noticed that a majority of students at LMC are on their phones while walking around.

I’m sure before I lost my phone I was just like that. Social media has become bad because it’s become all that we do. Even at home with my family I experience this. My little brother and I are very close, and tell each other nearly everything. But once he is on his phone, I can never get his full attention. He even says the same thing about me.

If not for my parents being very strict about no phones at the dining table or when we go out to eat, we would probably be like the other people who are eating around us who are not even talking to each other because everyone is in their own little world on their phones. Social media is even affecting our brains.

Researchers at the UCLA brain-mapping center did a study of 32 teenagers to see how likes on instagram affected their brains. The study showed that receiving “likes” activates the reward centers in the brain, similar to winning a prize. This is not a good thing because that means if someone gets little to no likes on their social media this can cause depression and anxiety.

Social media also affects how we interact with people around us. Because everyone is on their phones so much, this has caused us as a society to be very awkward when it comes to face-to-face interactions. We are too afraid to go up to the person we like and tell them honestly how we feel so we try to get their attention by liking their pictures.

If this is how this generation is going, I only wonder what it would be like when I have children and they are my age.

If we as a society don’t fix these problems I can only imagine what the future is going to be like. Let’s hope more people lose their phones so we all can wake up to the real world and get out of this trap social media has us all in.