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Opinion: Squamish youth and technology: limiting exposure is key

'How dependent do you think you are on your technology?'

As youth, we depend on technology from the first moment we wake up until we fall asleep.

Most of us check our phones before brushing our teeth. Technology has become an essential part of our lives for its convenience, ease and enjoyment.

Almost everything we do is technology-related — everyday activities like setting alarms, checking time and communicating are all done through our phones.

Technology is beneficial, but at the same time, it can consume our time.

After checking how much time I was spending on TikTok, I had to delete it; I had no idea how fast an hour could go by in what felt like only minutes.

It’s easy to be drawn to our phones, even during class when they should be put away. It can be hard to ignore the notification vibrations from our phones and the desire to know what it is.

I have only left my phone at home two times this school year, and both times I was stressed and constantly thinking about my phone throughout the school day.

The urge to check it followed me no matter how I tried to distract myself, and I felt relief when I got home to find it.

Studies have shown how phone use releases something called dopamine in our brains.

Dopamine is a kind of neurotransmitter and hormone which creates the feeling you get when you accomplish something — it is associated with reinforcement.

Technology has also been linked to depression and anxiety, creating withdrawal symptoms in others. Its associated social media pressure, cyberbullying, and the bright screens all affect mental health and can cause a lack of focus.

Technology also keeps people from experiencing things better; an example is filming and taking photos of an event instead of being in the moment and enjoying it.

Another example is communicating through text instead of seeing people face to face.

Technology is very useful. It helps us with lots of things, and I honestly can’t remember a time when technology wasn’t a helpful asset in my life, but it also can be dangerous, not only for youth but everyone, if we don’t know our limits.

We can easily get addicted, making it essential to try and set limits on technology use and balance screen time with reading a book, running or doing other fun screen-free activities.

Cutting out technology completely is nearly impossible, but we can still refrain from depending too much on it.

How dependent do you think you are on your technology?

Kiana Alai is a local teen and member of the Squamish Youth Council.

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