I’ll be the first to admit I’m constantly consumed by screens and media. I’d like to say it’s because I’m a Media Studies major, but I know I’m just lying to myself. Ultimately, I’d consider myself a screenager: a person in their teens or early twenties who not only understands technology, but spends a significant amount of time online.
I was eleven when I got my first phone. It didn’t take much time for me to download social media and addicting games while texting all my friends. From a young age, we’re taught to stay off or limit our use of technology and the internet, but many people focus on the negatives rather than the positives of technology and internet use.
Initially, I was in denial that I used my phone too much. I wanted to prove to my parents that I could stay away from my phone and social media. At times, I even deleted social media apps, but I felt disconnected from the world around me without them. Of course, I found other activities to do besides being on my phone, but nothing could replace the feeling of being able to see friends and family who lived far away from me via the internet.
As I got older, I concluded that I am a screenager. While I’m on a screen and on the internet multiple hours a day, it’s crucial that I do so in my life. Being a screenager allows me to stay updated on current news, respond to important emails, access my coursework, talk to friends and family and so much more. Without the internet and all the screens I use daily, I wouldn’t be able to connect with those around me, and getting work done would be much more difficult. Plus, I feel like it’s my duty as a Media Studies major to, well, study media and know what’s happening online.
Since I’ve grown up with it, it’s hard to see a world without the internet. I do plenty of activities without my phone, but being on a screen can sometimes be addicting. Social media algorithms constantly pull me back into scrolling on them and liking posts in my feed. And who else will answer the random questions that pop up in my head at 3 a.m. if not Google? It seems like the answer to anything can be found online and the internet is the solution to chronic boredom.
Although I am a screenager, finding a balance between being on a screen and enjoying the present moment has been so important in my life. I constantly monitor my screen time and how much time I spend online because I do not want to get further addicted to the internet or social media. I make efforts to pursue hobbies that don’t involve technology and to arrange times to hang out with friends in real life rather than online.