According to an article by CNN, a study conducted by researchers from Korea University in Seoul shows that those diagnosed with an internet or smartphone addiction have “significantly higher levels of GABA, a neurotransmitter in the cortex that inhibits neurons, than levels of glutamate-glutamine, a neurotransmitter that energizes brain signals.”

Higher levels of GABA affect an individual’s ability to concentrate and avoid distractions. According to the article, the professor of neuroradiology at Korea University who led the study, Hyung Suk Seo, commented that “addicted teenagers in the study also had significantly higher scores in anxiety, depression and levels of insomnia and impulsivity.”

The study only used 38 teenagers and has not been peer-reviewed yet; however, the findings match prior research which shows that multitaskers “tend to demonstrate smaller gray matter area in the anterior cingulate cortex, which is the area of the brain responsible for top-down attention control,” Caglar Yildirim, assistant professor of human-computer interaction at the State University of New York at Oswego, told CNN.

Cellphone addiction is just one of those things that many accept as the cultural norm; however, we should become more aware of the damage these tiny screens can have on our lifestyle.

Just in the process of writing this article, I’ve stopped to mindlessly check my email, Instagram and Snapchat on my iPhone at least three times.

The average person checks their cell phone 110 times a day, according to 2013 data from app company Locket. How much extra time in the day would people have to engage with their surroundings and pursue hobbies if they were not constantly checking their phones?

I also often wonder how much more information people would retain if they did not have phones out in class. College students reported using their cell phones an average of 11 times per day in class, according to a 2013 survey conducted by researchers at the University of Nebraska Lincoln. In another study, 92 percent reported using their cell phones to send text messages during class.

Not only do these smartphones have the potential to become a distraction, but they can also put people in danger.

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), 26 percent of car accidents are caused by cell phone usage. Fifty-six percent of parents check their devices while driving, according to the Washington Post, and a report by Common Sense Media showed that 75 percent of users admit that they have texted at least once while driving.

These statistics clearly show the alarming effects that smartphones can have on an individual’s ability to drive, not to mention the harm done to your sleeping pattern. College students already do not get enough sleep, but phones perpetuate this problem. According to an article by Business Insider, 58 percent of users check their smartphones before sleep and 52 percent of users check their smartphones within 15 minutes after waking up.

Smartphone screens emit a bright blue light that causes the brain to stop producing melatonin, a hormone that signals to the body that it is time to sleep, another Business Insider article found.

Our screens are slowly taking over our lives, affecting our ability to concentrate and form meaningful connections. It’s important to step away from our smartphones sometimes and take time to reflect.

The good news is the study conducted by Korea University shows that cognitive behavioral therapy caused the teenagers GABA levels to normalize, so it is possible to fix our behavior.

In her article, CNN writer Sandee LaMotte suggests removing social media apps from your phone for a while or trying to cut down your phone time to 15-minute intervals. The article also says that you should not bring your phone to your bed.

Ultimately, try not to use your cell phone when interacting with other humans. Live in the moment – our time on this earth is short, and there are so many exciting moments out there to experience.

This is the opinion of Jessie Brown, a freshman film and television major from Houston, Texas. Tweet comments @LALoyolan or email