If you’re anything like me, then you are probably typically glued to your phone, and the thought of living without it seems impossible. I find that my phone is the first thing I check in the morning and the last thing I see at night before I go to sleep.
Simply put, my phone is BAE.
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But how much more connected would I be to the people in my life if I was to dump my iPhone?
I started thinking about this recently after actress/activist Amandla Stenberg revealed to W Magazine that she no longer has an iPhone. According to the Everything Everything actress, she ditched her most prized possession because she was concerned about the effects it was having on her mental health. “I feel like it’s very easy for your perception of reality to get distorted when you have that device in your pocket 24/7 that you refresh like a hyper-reality that doesn’t exist,” she said. “I feel like my life was refreshing Instagram as opposed to refreshing life.”
As much as we hate to admit it, some of us are spending more time with our smartphones than we are with actual people, and the trend has social and mental health implications for anyone with a device.
According to an article titled, “Has The Smartphone Destroyed A Generation?” published by The Atlantic, social media usage has already had a profoundly negative impact on teens and young adults.
Some of the effects of phone use include:
- Teens and young adults are increasingly less social and more reclusive.
- They are dating less.
- They feel like they are being left out socially, which leads to unhappiness.
- They are more likely to stay at home and spend time on social media versus actually hanging out with friends.
- They are less likely to seek out independence.
- Social media is having a direct effect on mental health, with the depression and suicide rates skyrocketing for teens since 2011.
- Depressive symptoms have increased by 21 percent for boys and a staggering 50 percent for girls.
The harsh truth is that teens are not the only ones in this dilemma. Many of us are also internalizing these images and thoughts, and, undoubtedly, it is having a direct impact on our own feelings of self-worth. And it’s not only *insert your fav that always seems to be winning* that’s affecting our mental: the constant barrage of information is enough to make even the strongest person feel like they’re going crazy.
We all could benefit from taking a social media break from time to time. We should also practice mindfulness and remember that the “present is a gift.”
Whether it’s tapping into our spiritual side through meditation, prayer, or a bit of simple quiet reflection, focusing on our mental health needs to be paramount. Or you can be like Amandla and get rid of your phone altogether. Whatever you do, make sure to make yourself your number one priority—self care is lit!