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By: “bluegreen12,” age 15

Technology has helped make life easier and even more comfortable. Phones, phones, phones—what a blessing and a curse. Phones have helped us be able to talk with each other, whether we are just miles apart or half a world away. Social media has contributed to that cause as well. Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, you name it; they have made us become closer to each other … or have they?

In reality, how much time do you spend on your phone? Can you control it? Heck, I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t consider myself someone who is always on my phone. I just stay on for a while and check it a few times. That’s probably along the lines of what you would think about your phone use, too, and that’s even what I thought when someone would say I spend too much time “connected.”

I have, in a way, become a bit addicted to always being on my phone and on social media, but I didn’t realize it until, somehow, BAM BADA BOOM, it hit me hard. It is pretty funny, actually; I have lived most of my life without a phone. I haven’t even had my phone for a year. But throughout those months, I would get on it a few times, then as time passed, those few times transformed into hours spent on it with very few breaks in between.

Without even realizing it, I had fallen into what I like to call “the endless cycle of CONNECTION.” This cycle makes you believe you are on another level of connection, a connection that links you to other people through social media and the internet. This cycle can connect you to people who live far away from you, but it also can isolate you. Being connected and texting with friends once in a while is one thing, but bonding with friends is a totally different thing. Going out to the mall, a movie, the pool or even to each other’s houses and spending time together is much different than sitting together on your phones on the couch.

A lot of teens have become addicted to their phones; they are always checking it, and they can’t last hours without checking it. What I’ve realized is that there is SO MUCH MORE to life than just a screen, a phone, a social media account. Making experiences with people is something that can reward you in the future. When you think back to your teen years, experiences are things you can remember with fondness. Sometimes, people are connected on their phones, but they aren’t present. Something can be happening around them: Maybe the sky has purple and bluish shades, maybe the moon is beautiful that night, but they are on their phone, so they don’t notice the small things in life that actually have a greater effect.

So, I will ask you this: What will you make of your life? Something that, when you think back, is just a big summary of staying at home and looking through your Facebook or Snapchat feed? Or will you have a life that lets you spend some time on your phone but also lets you spend time actually living and bonding instead of just being “connected”?