Put Down The Phone: 4 Signs Technology Is Holding Your Life Captive

by Prashanthi Musapet

Do you suffer from Phantom Phone Vibration Syndrome? Do a quick Google search, and you’ll find the condition is basically defined as the belief that your phone is vibrating or ringing when it’s not.

Yeah, so that’s an actual thing. And I hate to admit it, but it happens to me A LOT.

Then, there’s the negative effects of social media. A number of studies have linked social networking to depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, narcissism and sleep problems.


A 2013 article by Time Magazine revealed why logging onto Facebook can leave users jealous or depressed:

“Overall, however, shared content does not have to be 'explicitly boastful' for envy feelings to emerge. In fact, a lonely user might envy the numerous birthday wishes his more sociable peer receives on his FB Wall. "Equally, a friend’s change in relationship status from 'single' to 'in a relationship' might cause emotional havoc for someone undergoing a painful breakup.”

The mere fact that issues like these didn’t exist 10 years ago proves we’re so addicted to technology, it can affect our physical and mental well-being on a daily basis.

Here are four ways technology has taken over our lives:

1. The first thing we do when we wake up is look at our phones.

Many of us can relate to this scenario: The alarm on your phone goes off; you wake up, look at the texts you received overnight and start scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

There was a time when you laid in bed and daydreamed -- about the day ahead, life goals, your crush -- or did nothing at all. It was just absolute silence for those few minutes.

Nope, not anymore. Those days seem to be long gone.

Technology is our drug of choice. Gotta take a hit! Only then does our day officially begin.

2. We're distracted drivers.

This one is not only dangerous, it can also be deadly. According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, “more than nine people are killed and more than 1,153 people are injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver.”

We know the statistics, and yet, we don’t stop. We have to reply to all our texts and emails as soon as we get them. It doesn't matter how inconsequential they are.

And who likes sitting in traffic? Nothing to do but wait, or use the time to surf the web.

"Taking your eyes off the road for just a few seconds, while going an average speed of about 55 miles an hour, is like driving the length of a football field blindfolded," says David Hosansky, author of "Distracted Driving: Should Driver Texting and Cellphone Use Be Banned?"

Whoa. But we can’t help it. It’s the way we’re programmed. Blink and you’ll miss it.

Everything is now, now, now, even if it costs someone their life.

3. We love to indulge the "no reason for a selfie" selfie.

I had a former coworker who legit took at least 10 to 15 selfies on the job, every day: in the hallway, at her desk, in the break room, next to her lunch.

Okay, we get it. I’m not knocking her, though. She, like almost everyone else, is following the new normal. We’re always looking for opportunities to turn our camera phones around and click.

Got my Starbucks for the morning! Ready to start the day. Click. Took a major dump. Click.

It’s become an obsession to show that not a day goes by where we’re not cool, attractive, without friends or living an epic life.

Newsflash: Sometimes life is boring. We don’t need to photograph every moment of it. Half the time, we’re going through the motions and don’t really take the time to enjoy the moment and commit it to memory.

Who cares, though, right? The lighting in my last bathroom selfie was epic.

4. Lost your phone? You’re f*cked.

Your life is on your phone: contacts, emails, personal and banking information, online bill pay and social media accounts.

Most of us hit a button and the rent or credit card bill is paid. Or you scroll through your phone book and press a name. Number dialed. How many of us even know our account numbers or friends’ digits by heart? They are programmed in our little devices and we forget about them.

Scanning someone's phone can even show you who the person is, through apps that reveal what we like and what we find important. It’s like Pandora’s freakin’ box.

Here’s some food for thought: Years down the road, which will be the better memory? The uncaptured moments from that cross-country road trip with your college roommates, or that hilarious text you sent with the dancing girl emoji?

Think about it.