Internet anxiety

Christina Rossetti, Photo Editor

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

Just recently, I was watching television with my parents, when I looked down at my phone. Then I heard an NBC story about cell phones. “Christina,” my dad said, “I think this might be really important, so pay attention.”

I rolled my eyes, like most teenagers do when a parent tells them to get off of their phone. But what I heard after that was pretty shocking. As more kids get smartphones, they became addicted to using them. The reporter continued with the story, saying that seventy percent of high school teens were at risk for developing anxiety and depression with increased use of their phones.

Seventy percent. At LT, with our student population of roughly 4,200, that’s almost 3,000 students. 3,000 of us. It’s likely to be your friend, a classmate, or even you. I sat, listening to the reporter talk about how the more apps we have on our phone, the more at risk we are. More specifically, apps like Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook can contribute substantially to increase the risks of depression and anxiety in teens.

I didn’t even need to check my phone to know that I had all three. I got to thinking, and I realized that my life is consumed by my phone. While out with friends, I post Snapchat stories of us. I post Instagram photos of all of us together; both things most teens do. Is this really as big of an epidemic as it seems? How many of my friends can soon develop symptoms of anxiety and depression? Could we really be addicted to our phones? Could it be me?

I looked back at my life, thinking about how when I was younger, without a smartphone, I spent most of my day outside, running around, reading, or having meaningful conversations with my family and friends. Now, my friends and family have those meaningful conversations over text. Not in person- or if we do- it’s rare, because of our insanely busy schedules. I remember a time in my life when I didn’t rely on my phone for everything, and I wish I could go back.

I think people need a break from their phones. I’m not trying to be a hypocrite– I am on my phone a lot, but I think everyone needs a break from the screen that gives us access to so much.

I challenge you, this weekend, to put your phone away. Go outside, go out with your friends, spend an hour doing something you wouldn’t normally do if you had your phone. Have a real conversation. Call someone, meet up with them, and talk to them, really talk to them. Talk to a family member, ask about their childhood. Talk to them about how much life has changed since they were teens. Talk to a friend, ask them questions, learn new things about them you didn’t know before. See what that feels like.

I bet it will feel refreshing to have a few hours without worrying about who’s posting what on Snapchat. Whatever you decide to do, just put your phone away and really relax. I know I will.