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COLUMN: We really are addicted to our phones

As I scrolled through BBC News the other day, I saw an article titled “Why are we addicted to our smartphones?” and my first thought was: “Oh jeez, not this again.”

Once I read the article, though, I changed my mind.

The article explained how we become addicted to social media and our smartphones and then explained how this negatively affects our life.

For once, I agreed with this type of article.

Alina Dizik, the author of the article, claims social media and smartphones in general give us a larger sense of anxiety than we realize.

Reading the article made me think about how I spend my time when I’m not in class.

When I get out of class, I immediately turn my phone on and check my notifications. When I get out of work I, again, turn my phone on and check my notifications. The act of checking missed notifications can take up to 30 minutes of my day. Those 30 minutes could be half of an episode of a Netflix original, or even a workout at the gym.

Dizik challenges readers to log off every once in a while, but she also acknowledges the anxiety that comes with that.

We fear missing out on some funny meme or life-changing announcement our twice-removed cousin may make on Facebook.

Before I sat down to do my homework, I decided to put my phone on silent and set it far enough away from me that I wouldn’t grab it out of habit.

I began feeling anxious that I was missing an important phone call or maybe my roommate dying somewhere. I even felt itchy.

The need to check my phone was so great that I used changing songs as an excuse to give in to the urge.

That’s ridiculous.

Yes, the anxiety of missing something on our phones is intimidating, but with that comes a constant anxiety about how you’re spending your time.

I know I have spent many nights bemoaning my procrastination yet there I sat tweeting 
about it.

Now I’m imagining what I can do with all the free time I will have once I finish my homework in a decent amount of time.

All throughout college, I thought I was doing alright because I had enough restraint to turn my phone off during class, a movie or some other social event.

I found myself being that person who was annoyed when I saw other people on their phones during a comedy show.

But I can’t even restrain myself from constantly checking my phone when I’m at home.

We spend so much time fearing what we might miss out on online that we miss out on doing well in school, having fun with our friends or experiencing the outside world.

Dizik said if we turn our phones off or log out of social media more often, the anxiety will lessen and we will begin to feel better and more productive.

She even said spending less time on social media or feeling anxious about social media can lessen depression.

I know we all don’t want to be depressed or anxious, so maybe we can help each other out.

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