Before I even start this article, I want to ask you, dear reader, what you are reading this on. Your computer? Your phone? Your tablet? Maybe even your watch? How much time exactly do you spend glued to your screen, no matter what device it is? Odds are, a lot. According to an article by The Huffington Post, people spend an “average of five hours a day” on their phones. That’s about one third of the time people are awake! I, myself, am guilty of being on my phone most of the time. And unless you don’t have a phone, it’s more than likely that you are, too.

We are slaves to our phones, our technology. When was the last time you went anywhere without taking your beloved cell phone with you? I know people that even bring their cellphones to the bathroom with them. They literally cannot be a moment without them. We have a fear of being without our phones, a fear Scientific American calls “nomophobia.” According to this same article, being without a phone can cause “feelings of anxiety” in some people. And these days, it’s easy to see why. After all, we feel like we need to use our phones for everything. To-do lists, planners, clocks, timers, reading, learning, fun, dating, communicating. Whatever we feel we need to do, there’s an app for it.

According to a study done by researchers for The Huffington Post, people check their phones “an average of 85 times a day.” At first, I couldn’t believe this. That number seemed way too large. Then I thought about it. I’m a high school senior going to a large school. I nearly collide with people every day, because they are too busy staring at their phones to look where they’re going. Even I have been guilty of doing this at times and every time I catch myself I nearly die from embarassment. 

At school, I feel so bad for the teachers who are constantly having to tell their students to put their phones away, and even worse for the teachers who have completely given up on telling them to put their phones away. You tell a student to give you their phone nowadays and they’ll laugh at you. Tell them again, and they’ll tell you that they’d rather go to the principal’s office and get a detention than give you their phone.

I was once sitting in English class when a girl asked a question. The teacher was happy to answer this question, as teachers often are. After all, teachers want us to learn. But you could tell how unhappy the teacher was when, while this teacher was in the middle of answering her question, the girl took out her phone and started scrolling through what I could only assume were her messages.

Why are we so glued to our phones? Why are we at a point where there is such a thing as nomophobia? Can the people of our society even survive a day without their phones anymore? Please tell me what you think in the comments below. 

And while you’re at it, go for a walk. No phone, no earbuds, just the fresh air and the sounds of the outdoors. Unplug for once.