Virtually everyone you know owns a mobile device which means that everybody is connected virtually all of the time. This constant connection has never happened before in human history. Mobile devices have begun to change people’s social lives and not always for better. People today have become more accustomed to communicating via text than via talking, and often times are more concerned with what’s happening on their phones than what’s going on right in front of them. The average person checks social media multiple times per day and since it is so addicting it’s difficult to break the habit of constantly checking it. Being on your mobile device too frequently can lead to issues with your health as well as overall well-being.
Being connected to everyone you know and the seemingly infinite information on the internet seems like it would be a great thing, and for many it is. But there are people who struggle with this great power they have in their hands, and many times they struggle without even realizing it. Too much of a good thing can be bad, and that holds true with information on the internet. Say for instance you are hungry and want to go out to grab some pizza. Most people – especially millennials – would quickly open their phones to look up where the pizza places around them are. Then you would start reading reviews to get a better idea of how good the place actually is compared to the others on the list. Time would fly by and before you know it, you wouldn’t even be hungry anymore all because you spent so much time trying to find the “best” pizza place when they second best or third best would have been more than good enough. That abundance of information has caused people to be paralyzed and has sidelined them from experiencing all the great things that life has to offer.
Social media is another outlet made even more easily accessible through the use of mobile devices. People can log on right now and see all of the exciting things that their friends and family are doing and all of the amazing experiences they are having. To be clear, there is nothing wrong with sharing the best parts of your life with the people you know and documenting these memories. The problem is that when people log on and look through these feeds, they only see what is essentially a highlight reel of their friend’s and family’s lives. This can cause them to reflect on their own life and think about all of the things they’re currently not experiencing. What’s even worse is that this behavior gets worse because these people spend more time on their mobile devices and less time experiencing things in real time.
Constant use of your mobile device can begin to affect your health both mentally and physically. Studies have shown that being on your phone frequently – particularly at night – can begin to affect the quality of your sleep. Poor sleep quality can then begin to lead to other issues such as high blood pressure and heart disease. The psychological effects of constant mobile device use – especially while spending time on social media – can be particularly negative for young people. Seeing the highlight reel discussed earlier can lead to feelings of anxiety, envy, depression, and inadequacy. Feelings like that can have serious effects on young people who are still developing and can cause issues that they will cope with for years to come.
Being aware of problems like these is half of the battle. There are a few things you can do that require minimal effort but can make a difference-such as turning your phone off before bed, putting the phone down when you’re with other people, and realizing that things you see on social media are highlights. Lastly, don’t forget to step away from the screen and experience real life!