Staff Editorial: Open your eyes to your reliance on your cell phone

Recently, AT&T users were impacted by a widespread phone network outage that disrupted essential services like calling and texting.

After service was restored, several articles like “Don’t fret, here are messaging apps if service goes out” and “AT&T outage just a preview of what can happen when cell service goes out: How to prepare” made headlines. In an age where communication is instantaneous and connectivity is taken for granted, this disruption was a stark reminder of our reliance on technology. The outage not only disrupted personal communication but also affected businesses, emergency services and various sectors reliant on uninterrupted connectivity. It underscored the critical role that technology plays in our daily lives and highlighted the risks associated with over-reliance on a single service provider or communication channel.

For us, technology isn’t just a tool—it’s a lifeline. It’s how we stay connected with friends, keep up with the latest trends and navigate the highs and lows of teenage life. As we embrace the convenience and efficiency offered by modern technology, we must also acknowledge the risks of placing all our eggs in one digital basket.

One of the foremost concerns is the impact of excessive screen time on mental health. Research has consistently shown a correlation between prolonged screen exposure and heightened levels of stress, anxiety and depression among adolescents. The constant barrage of notifications, the pressure to curate a perfect online persona and the addictive nature of certain applications can contribute to feelings of inadequacy and social isolation.

But reducing our reliance on technology doesn’t mean ditching our smartphones or uninstalling all social media platforms—it’s about finding a healthy balance. It’s about recognizing that while technology enhances our lives in countless ways, it’s not immune to glitches and hiccups. 

Implementing strategies like screen time limits, and taking a moment to reflect on how much time you spend online each day can help us regain control over our digital lives. Whether it’s during meals or when with friends and family, turning off your phone for even just a few moments at a time can foster deeper connections with the world around us.

Balancing technology usage requires intentional effort and discipline. However, the benefits far outweigh the challenges, as these practices contribute to enhanced focus, improved productivity and greater overall well-being. In a world where the only constant is change, let’s be the generation that embraces technology while staying grounded in what truly matters—our connections, our experiences and our humanity.