Editor's Note: Manasi Kinikar is a high school senior at Normal Community High School. Kinikar blogs for The Vidette under an internship program.

In today's digital age we are constantly giving in to technology’s many inventions and updates. We can become consumed by the numerous apps, services and information provided by the internet. As a society we have embraced the numerous advantages of technology and ignored  the negative side effects.

Almost three-quarters of young adults have access to a smartphone and admit to sometimes being addicted. According to The New York Times, although internet addiction is not a clinical diagnosis in the U.S, The American Psychiatric Association included “Internet Gaming Disorder” in its diagnostic manual to prompt further research. Many countries also choose to help kids with internet addictions through counseling and therapy.

Due to the influence of social media apps, young adults feel an increasing need to keep up with the highlights of their peers' lives. Teens are also losing an average of two hours of sleep because of phones. Staying online longer can make it harder to constrain ourselves even when we are aware of the consequences. The ambient glow from the screens of our devices affects the release of melatonin, making it harder to regulate our sleep cycles and causes an increase in our blood pressure and body temperature.

By being able to communicate with our family, friends and even strangers halfway across the world without ever leaving our bed is another marvel of technology that has made our life infinitely easier.

However, because of this, almost three out of four Americans have reported feelings of loneliness or isolation in the past two years.

Although technology plays an important part in this, many also find that scrolling through social media can sometimes feel like a release from our physical loneliness and allow us to feel as though we are still a part of the loop. It can act as an escape from the pressures of the outside world and give us an illusion of true interaction. Technology, when used sparingly can act as a convenient tool in the 21st century. Yet, it is important to remember that it can also quickly swallow us if we don’t take any measures to form meaningful connections with people in the real world. 

 

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