Do I need my phone?

A survey conducted by the Kaiser Foundation showed that kids use technology for 7.5 hours a day, not including school. Even more surprising, this was back in 2009. While this is just one statistic, it has greater consequences; technology affects us in ways that aren’t always shown by surveys or science experiments.

All of the extra hours spent on social media and Netflix can quickly be turned into hours not spent on schoolwork or other hobbies; when it comes to technology, almost every upside can be easily flipped into a downside.

Because of technology, activities such as sleep or study are at times replaced with more exciting alternatives, averting people from significant and important tasks.

So, if technology has really prevented us from doing more and being better, maybe it’s time to start blaming it too.

During my freshman year, I always played games on my iPad at school. And not just during lunch or free periods – during math and science classes, too.

Not only did this distract me from important instruction during class, but I also lost track of what was important to me.

Sadly, it took me until my sophomore year to realize that my priorities were twisted; technology had truly gotten in the way of the grades that I told myself I wanted for college; it was a constant distraction all day and night.

According to a recent study by the Pew Research center, close to a quarter of teens claim to be online “almost constantly.” Another survey by CNN had close to half of its respondents claiming to be at least somewhat addicted to technology.

Obviously, this doesn’t represent every single person, but it says something as to how much technology has taken over our lives.

Without the constant access to screens, I like to think my grades would’ve been higher but it’s hard to blame something that I’ve never lived without. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t.

As much as I love my iPhone, there will always be a big part of me that thinks I would be better off without it.

Would my life really be any worse without these benefits of modern technology?

Those memories would have still been made. Records would have to be bought and not streamed. And without Google Maps, I would just get lost in Winnetka, and then have to keep driving around until I found something familiar.

While there are clear benefits to technology, lots of empty hours are spent scrolling through Facebook feeds.

In addition to the distractions of technology, real studies have shown a rise in mental health issues among teens that are close to parallel with the rise in social media and cell phones.

The reality is that technology causes just as much stress and distraction as it does fun and happiness. Finding the balance between the pros and cons of technology can help everybody get the best out of what they have.