What’s the first thing you do in the morning and the last thing you do before going to bed? For most people, it’s checking their phone — e-mail, messages and other notifications — to either get caught up right before falling asleep or to see what they missed overnight.

Whether you’re waiting in line at the grocery store, riding the bus, studying at the Shapiro Undergraduate Library or sitting in lecture, take a look around you. A good number of people are on their phone — updating a Facebook status, tweeting, posting on Instagram.

I had no idea how much time we spend on our phones until I was overseas over the summer and didn’t have a cell phone. I felt like I had so much free time with a phone not constantly buzzing every few minutes.

Sometimes on public transportation, I’d look around and everyone around me would have headphones on and be on their phone or tablet in their own world. Never before did I feel more alone in a room full of people. But if I had my phone, I would’ve been doing the same thing and would have been just as guilty of not interacting with those around me. As we grow closer to those farther away from us, we are growing increasingly disconnected from those physically close to us.

Is it possible to be over-connected? Especially with the ever-increasing forms of social media, there’s a need to establish and maintain a social presence. Let’s be honest, everyone loves a notification — it makes us feel important. Heard. It lets us know that someone cares about what we have to say or what we are doing — something that we innately crave as human beings.

Humans are social creatures, and, in a globalized world, this is how we stay connected. But when was the last time you talked to the person sitting next to you in a large lecture hall? We’re so connected with what we already know that we never really have to step out of our comfort zone and meet new people. In the era of Internet and smartphones, we are truly hooked to our gadgets.

Of course, one can argue that social media and technology bring light to issues that you might not know about otherwise, but what do most people do with that information? We either tweet about it, post a status or share that article. That’s where it ends for most people. But what if we actually did something about it?

Everything should be enjoyed in moderation, and that includes smartphones and social media. A few weeks ago I deleted a lot of apps from my phone, and honestly, life was perfectly fine. I had more time to spend with my family, my friends and really do something memorable with my time.

So spend a little less time on your phone scrolling through your newsfeed for the hundredth time. Talk to the people around you, do something outdoors or spend your Saturday afternoon volunteering. Or maybe actually work on one of those DIY projects you’re always re-pinning. Take some time away from a screen. You’ll be surprised with how much there is around you.

Janini Kumar is an LSA sophomore.

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