Unplug & Reconnect

Allie Oniki, Staff Writer

We’ve heard it from our moms, dads, teachers, uncles, mailmen, Oprah, even Mr. Rogers- teenagers are on their phones a lot. We know we are. If you go out in public, you rarely see a teenager who isn’t grasping their phone in their hand. This is our way of life. We were born, we talked to imaginary friends on play phones as tots, freaked out when we got our first flip phone, whined to our parents to get us smartphones, and here we are today. It’s the cycle of life. But are we forgetting to live?
In a recent study by Josh Kaufman, author of The Personal MBA, it was found that it takes 20 hours to learn a new skill. According to a study from Pew Research Center, 92% of teens report going online daily — including 24% who say they go online “almost constantly.” This is nothing short of expected. When you think about these two bits of research, it really puts things into perspective. Imagine the time that could be used learning a new skill that is instead used on our phones using social media, texting, or playing games. If you went on your phone and looked at Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, or whatever the cool kids are on these days for just an hour a day, in 20 days you may have missed out on a valuable learning experience. Someone else could have learned to bake a soufflé in that amount of time. Their knowledge would have increased, instead of having jealousy over someone’s Instagram picture of them eating a Jamba Juice on the beach, annoyance at the person who wrote “I still love you” on Twitter with no reference to whom they’re talking to, or mad coloring skills on Snapchat when you turned yourself into a Disney princess.
Social media was made to keep us connected with the world around us, but when you think about it, it has done the opposite. If the statistics keep rising and all we ever do is use our phones, then what will there be to post about? We’re so caught up taking pictures of ourselves having fun that we forget to actually have fun.
Phones are wonderful things that keep us up-to-date with everyone and everything, but it’s important that we step back a little bit every day and make sure we are actually living, rather than watching other people live.