Breaks from social media strengthen relationships

By Clare McGreevy 

On a beautiful Tuesday afternoon, I sat outside of Traditions at a table with friends. The sun was out and the birds were chirping, but I suddenly realized I couldn’t hear any other sounds when I looked up in the middle of stalking my cousin’s boyfriend’s friend’s sister on Instagram. I became glaringly aware that each person around the table was also on their phone.

Screen time distracts from the present. (Flickr)

I didn’t want to be rude and call them out, especially because I only rose above ignoring the world and burying my face in my phone within the last couple of seconds.

I sat and waited for someone else to gain the same awareness. The closest that we came to was an “Oh my god, look what so-and-so just texted me” and a brief follow-up conversation before everyone sank back into their respective internet holes.

This may not be a constant theme in everyone’s day-to-day social lives, but if we don’t all act this way once in a while, we at least know many people who do.

Our generation has grown up alongside the rise of the smartphone, and has inevitably become more attached to technology and social media than most would agree is healthy. Many would call it an addiction, but I wouldn’t go so far. We have the power and the ability to unplug, but casually immersing ourselves in our phones at any and all social events has become the norm. Consequently, we are not paying enough attention to how far it has gone.

It’s sad that the majority of our generation can’t sit down to eat a meal without checking our phones every few minutes or even, in the case of my lunch at Traditions, immersing ourselves so deeply in social media that we’re unaware of the atmosphere around us. This can be scary, especially considering it may only get worse with time. Modern technology has resulted in amazing and useful tools that make our lives easier and we should all appreciate the advantages they provide, but we still need to ask ourselves, “at what cost?”

There’s a certain freedom that comes with being disconnected. I am much clumsier than the average person and break my phone about once a year, resulting in the loss of technology for a couple of days while I wait for a new one to be shipped to me. This can be frustrating, like when I need to text a classmate about homework or want to make plans with friends, but it is also liberating.

During my senior year of high school, I went without a phone for three days and got more homework done. I went to bed earlier, feel asleep more easily and actually got ready for school with extra time to eat breakfast. This is likely because I didn’t waste half an hour scrolling through Buzzfeed articles about my astrological sign or watching videos of puppies on Facebook.

Those three days made me realize that although technology provides us with so many benefits in the realm of information and connectedness, it simultaneously prohibits real life productivity and progress. Remembering to put our phones down once in a while is a crucial decision that we all need to make in order to stay grounded in reality.

Students share opinions around campus

“Should social media use be limited?”

Ben Alicandri, a freshman chemistry major. (Emmy Liederman / Opinions Editor)

“Social media is a useful tool. If we didn’t use it as much as we do, it would be a waste.”

Krishalei Loquiao, a freshman special education and English dual major. (Emmy Liederman / Opinions Editor)

“Social media is a huge distraction and can cause unnecessary drama.”