Our smartphone is always with us: plugged in to earbuds, resting in our pocket or simply hiding beneath our pillow as we nap. It's always buzzing for attention - even on silent mode.
And we're always online! It's not a simple addiction anymore, they're like a drug that keeps us alive. And like any drug, when someone stops using it, it upsets their body and brain. It can make them very frustrated, and really crave the drug. What happens if you were forced to go without for a whole day?
Since the internet is something we depend on 24/7, my English teacher challenged my class to go for 21 hours without it. Would I wake up on time? How would I know what the date was? What if Harry Styles changed his hair colour? How would I know?!
Let the challenge begin
As we handed in our phones and laptops, I decided to treat my day without internet as a memorable learning experience. I decided it wouldn't be that bad after all.
After school I went home and told my mum about my day (something I've always resisted). She was pleasantly surprised! Instead of refreshing my Instagram feed repeatedly, I sat at my desk and used a textbook to help me with my history homework - and I was way more productive: no constant notifications from nonsense group chats, no pointless selfies, no temptation to document every single thing I'm doing.
I had so much free time! I could call a friend and ask her to come over. I could go for a walk with my grandparents. I could sketch the beautiful scenery outside my window that I never seem to notice. I suddenly felt so free and relaxed.
A few times during the day, I felt the need to look something up, check my school website, or Skype a friend to ask her for some advice. Instead I visited the library to check my school timetable and went for a walk with my friend. And I loved it.
In fact, I loved it so much, when my whole class got their devices back, I decided to push mine away for another three hours to make it a full 24 hours without accessing the nasty world wide web.
Honestly, after the 24 hours passed, I was upset. Upset to think about how much the internet has messed up our generation. Even though it has made our lives so convenient in many ways, we tend to use it to the extent that it becomes stupid. Instagramming things people write on dustbins? How foolish!
It's sad to think that instead of baking a birthday cake for our best friend, we send an online e-card. Instead of enjoying a concert, we watch it on our phone screen as we film it - a video we'll never watch. Instead of spending quality time with friends and family, we sit in our bedroom, earphones in, MacBook on our lap "doing homework".
Every second, 8,188 tweets are sent, 1,555 Instagram photos uploaded and 2,355,655 e-mails sent. This aggravates me so much that I feel like it's my duty to say this to you: stop.
Switch off your phone and toss it in your drawer. Put on your sneakers and call your best friends, then go out and do something fun. Don't be dependent on the internet for everything. Physically meet new people, don't meet them on Omegle. Go out for a run, don't play Fifa. Get a hug from your parents, instead of a poke from a Facebook friend.
And if you absolutely can't resist, update your status at the end of the day telling everyone about what a wonderful day you had, without the internet.