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                    Today most of us are in possession of a smartphone and are connected to the virtual world via internet. Social media has become the site for the world to know what we are up to. We are so busy looking down into those screens that we don’t even lift our eyes to look at what is in front of us. We all are aware that too much of anything is never beneficial. Then why is it so difficult to ignore this device?                    Even when we try to distance ourselves from it, the urge to check if there is any new notification is hard to resist. While we may think that just a quick glance is harmless, it disrupts our task at hand. Studies show that a distraction from a task for just a minute can disrupt our short term memory. This can break the link of our thought process or cause us to forget any ideas or intentions, which can also cause us to take more time than required to complete a task. As if this wasn’t enough, even when we are not checking our phone, we are preoccupied by it. For instance, constant thoughts about the amount of likes on our post and strategies to increase them  keeps us from doing something with full concentration; experiencing anxiety when a friend doesn’t reply immediately…there are multifarious instances and it doesn’t get any better. We underestimate the time this tiny device takes up. A cute cat video leads into streaming a whole range of animal videos, a glance at the dashboard of social media keeps us scrolling down for more…so engrossed we are in this virtual world that we forget the flow of time in the real world and compared to the seemingly endless things internet has to offer, daytime is not nearly enough for us. We engage in such activities even during nighttime; depriving our body of the much needed sleep. Unlike the time when we struggle to keep our eyes open during study hours, we manage the feat of pulling an all nighter wide awake effortlessly but credit goes to the emissions of blue wavelength light from our device which slows down melatonin production- hormone which puts us naturally to sleep.                     Now while everyone claims to know all this, the question arises is what do they do about it? It is high time we decide how and for what purpose we use smart phones.   • Fixing the time we go online: It will help save a lot of time if we decide on a fixed time period to be available online. Let everyone know about this duration so they don’t contact you outside this time period and you don’t have to constantly check if there are any new messages.• Avoiding phone during interaction with friends and family: Constantly being busy with phone  has reduced our interaction with real people, causing isolation.      • Using phone for productive purposes: Instead of cramming the phone screen with every social media app, use apps which help in achieving our ambitions and wellbeing goals.                                                    While smart phones live up to their name of being smart, we might have to reconsider our tag of being the most ‘intelligent’ of all animals. Using phones is not bad but getting addicted to it is what exacerbates the usage of smartphones. The problem arises when the line between our wants and needs  blur and our want becomes our need, leading to addiction. Teenagers and adolescents are now found in rehabilitation centres due to their addiction to phones. We equate happiness with our popularity in the virtual world and this has created a dependency. We should develop more self worth rather than relying on the approval of others (whom we don’t even know most of the time). Studies show that people with low self-esteem or high in narcissism depend on their popularity on social media for sense of satisfaction and happiness. While there’s nothing wrong with an ego boost from the number of likes & comments on your posts, it is a cause of concern when you start craving for more and reassess how much we depend on a little ‘like’ button for our happiness.

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