by Kinsey Phipps

According to CNN, tweens and teens spend an average of nine hours a day using media. Think about that for a second: That’s more than the average time spent sleeping or spending time with friends and family. That is even more time than a school day.
Social media becomes increasingly popular as time goes on. I see myself and everyone around me on their phones more and more every day. The more I think about it, the more somber this idea makes me feel.
I believe media has clouded our lives. It’s amazing to me how many people would rather spend all weekend watching their favorite Netflix shows than going out to spend time with family and friends. Social media is making us introverts.
Everyone needs a lazy day once in a while, but you are never going to remember the spring break you spent sitting at home watching Netflix and scrolling through Instagram. If you spend your summers lounging on the couch all day, you won’t have any memories of bonfires or beach days with the people closest to you to look back on. Imagine if the last summer before you went to college not being spent making memories with your friends before you take off for college. Imagine that summer was spent at home, finishing five shows on Netflix and living vicariously through everyone else’s Snapchat stories and Twitter posts. As we get older, I imagine we are going to regret those summers or spring breaks. We will regret spending two hours on our phones before bed instead of reading a book that could change our life. Nothing you see on Facebook can compare to an experience you get to live and breathe.
Even when we try to experience things, I feel like so many of us are so focused on documenting everything. Think about the last time you went on vacation. How many times were you taking pictures, videos or posting about your trip? All that time you spent doing those things took away from living in the moment and experiencing the world around you. If you think about it, the more you worry about documenting and remembering your trips and experiences, the less memorable the event will be. You’ll see all of these pictures, but you won’t remember the stories behind them because all you were worried about was taking the picture it self, not looking around and living in the moment.
I believe our lives are measured in our experiences: The places you’ve seen and the people you’ve met who have made the most impact on you. Although social media helps you keep in contact with people and stay up to date on everyday life, it takes away from living.
I am going to challenge myself to meet new people, say yes to more opportunities and put my phone away. I want to have a life worth remembering, not a life full of pictures without a story.