Being at the movies is a time to sit back, relax, and immerse yourself in the experience without distractions – like your phone. If you must keep it on or have it out during the film, be considerate of others by silencing ringtones and putting screens away.

We tend to be more courteous to strangers than the people closest to us, which is ironic. We are so focused on our phones that we’re not present at the moment or paying attention to the people around us. We’d rather text, check email, update our statuses, and share pictures. The smartphone is a phenomenal device that can connect us with anyone in the world, but one dangerous side effect is that we often become disconnected from the present moment. Some of us can certainly relate to this tweet by Family Guy writer Alec Sulkin (@thesulk), “Has anything happened since 2008? I’ve been looking down at my phone.”

We can’t all be theater reminders, so for now we should just focus on these questions to help us regain the moment:

Where am I? Take a break from your phone and look around you. If you’re surrounded by trees, hear birds chirping, or feel the warmth of the sun, then chances are good that you’re in nature. Now is the time to break your phone addiction. Try putting down your phone and resisting the urge to Instagram or check in every few minutes–maybe even go an entire day without using your phone.

What am I doing? If you find that you have a seatbelt strapped across your chest and are holding a steering wheel in front of you, put down your phone. I know it’s difficult to believe, but this activity is called “driving.” Try it out for yourself!

Who am I with? Remembering the name of somebody you just met is crucial. If you can’t quite recall it, visit their Facebook page for a friendly reminder. If someone refers to you as their “mom,” “best friend,” or “boss” while you’re talking, they probably see you as an authority figure. This is called a real-time conversation, which many people believe should be given more importance than what’s happening on TV.

I shouldn’t be so harsh–we’re all wirelessly attached to our phones these days. However, the frivolousness of these questions comes from their simpleness and we often don’t realize what we’re NOT doing while checking our phone alerts.

By devoting excessive time to the virtual world, are we missing out on opportunities in reality? We curate and present ourselves well online and through text, but is it an accurate portrayal of who we are? We have the opportunity to present a more ideal version of ourselves to the world, and who doesn’t love receiving compliments?

But if we step away from our screens and live in the moment, we can experience true magic. We can be authentic and spontaneous. We can laugh out loud.

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