My parents were firm believers throughout my childhood that my brother and I should not have technology until it was absolutely necessary. So, upon my first day of 9th grade, I stumbled through high school trying to navigate the new halls, while also trying to learn how to work my new phone. A lot has changed since then. For instance, having a Motorola Razr or any flip phone does not make you a cool kid (I’m looking at you, Apple), tablets are now more common than laptops, and everyone on at least one social media platform. Everyone is so busy trying to plug-in, we forget what we were originally trying to connect to, and end up being plugged into a world that is not really…well…real.
I stopped participating in this world around this time last year when a harsh break up flipped my world upside down. After thorough combing through my Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and photo library to delete all traces of this relationship, I realized how much of my life I was putting out online for everyone to see. I went on a digital cleanse for a month. The first week dragged by and was more difficult that I initially anticipated. What was I supposed to do while waiting on-line at Starbucks if I did not have an Instagram feed to scroll through? How was I supposed to say how I felt in 140 characters or less, to people who probably could not care less? As time went on it got easier, and by the end of the month, I realized I did not miss it as much as I thought I did.
As of this day I do have social media on my phone, however I have become more aware of what I put out there for everyone to see, and how much I am using it. I am the first to put my phone away at any social setting, and encourage my friends to do the same. We got together in person to be with each other in the moment. You were definitely still in attendance of your favorite band’s concert even if you do not post their entire set on Snapchat. Your food will still be delicious and artsy looking if you do not post it on Instagram right this second.
While technology is beneficial in a lot of ways, like anything in life it is best when the use of it is balanced. Staying connected with each other is a huge thing for this generation, but it is equally important to be able to connect in person with one another. Your social skills should not slump to the side, just so you can be proficient in social media. It’s also important that you take the time to unplug and be within your own thoughts. After all, your mind was with you before technology became your plus 1; you should treat it that way.