We live in a society that is dependent on the internet and a slave to social media. While technology has done some amazing things, it also has its downfalls. We are always checking Facebook for new notifications, playing games that give us no real challenge, or reading news that makes us feel horrible about the world we are in. Being online more often has caused our society to feel more lonely than ever, stuck in a despite need for approval from strangers.

While the internet has given us a great amount of access to information, there are many reasons why we should all be limiting how much time we spend on it a day. Here are some of the few negative effects of the internet and why you should consider putting the phone down.

It can negatively affect your relationships.

Have you even gotten into a fight with your significant other over a post you saw on Snapchat, or a picture they liked on Instagram? Have you ever gotten in a tiff with a friend or family member because they posted a “sub-tweet” about you? Social media is one of the worst causes of breakdowns in relationships in modern times. Instead of chatting one on one with someone to get problems resolved, we get in arguments online and communication breaks down.

Furthermore, when you spend so much time on your phone you aren’t giving the people you are with in person the respect and attention they deserve. This causes relationships to get distant, because you aren’t actually interacting with others on anything more than a surface level. Think of how annoying it is to have a friend ignore your story because they are too busy playing a game on their iPad. You don’t want to be the person who does the same, so put the phone away and stay active in the conversation.

You have limited privacy.

We already know that all the big internet sites are mining our data, but what about the stuff you willingly put out there? Before you upload to social media do you take time to consider who might be seeing it? When you put everything out on the internet you open yourself up to millions of people you do not know. Have you ever gone to Google and searched for a new boyfriend to see what information you could find? You might have dug through old court records or checked out their most recent ex. There is a highly likely chance that someone has done that to you, too. Think about what future employers might see – do you want to be sharing that party photo from college? Even worse, constantly posting about where you are located could be detrimental if that information got into the wrong hands. Cyberstalking is a real issue in the United States, with an estimated 6.6 million people alone getting stalked this year. Plus, a robber could use information like that to come into your house or worse.

It will ruin your mental health.

Did you know that there is an actual condition called Social Media Anxiety Disorder? Social media is affecting our mental health in an incredibly negative way. Individuals who can relate themselves to the Social Media Anxiety Disorder fear that interacting with people will give rise to the feelings like evaluation, judgments, inferiority and self-consciousness. When we are online so often, we are subjected to an insane amount of content. Much of which makes us feel bad about ourselves. Think about how bad you felt when you saw your ex's new boo, or that article on losing weight for summer.

Instead, we should be working to focus on ourselves more. When we spend less time away from social media, we can focus more on our mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health. We allow ourselves to find opportunities to grow for the better. If you limit the people you “stalk” on Facebook or Instagram, you will become more focused on your own ambitions, goals, and achievements. You won't waste time comparing yourself to a version of others that is fake, manipulated, and calculated to be "perfect".

It takes you away from things you really love.

Over the past few years, have you noticed yourself moving away from hobbies you once loved? Maybe you once enjoyed reading a book a week or playing soccer. Whatever it is, chances are you traded them for time on the internet. We are less likely to be well-rounded members of society when all we do is sit on the computer.

When we take a break from the madness of the media, we can spend time on doing things for ourselves. Putting down the phone can help us focus more on our studying because we could always use a better grade in a class. We can focus on getting in shape. Going to the gym and working out for 30 minutes is better than wasting 30 minutes double tapping pictures. We could spend more time with our families and loved ones, because we know tomorrow is never promised. There are so many ways that we as individuals could improve ourselves if we just limited the time that we spent mindlessly scrolling.

Technology is all around us, and there is nothing we can do about it. However, stepping away from the internet can bring our attention to things going on around us, rather than what is on the device in our hands. When we take a break from the media, we can focus more on our own lives rather than everyone else's. We stop comparing ourselves and reading content that makes us feel inferior. We can focus on bettering ourselves and that is way better than 100 likes on a selfie.

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