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Once smartphones came around, 'BRB' said 'LOL, G2G'
With the rise of the Internet, phrases like BRB are gone. Why? Because we're almost always online, which isn't really a good thing. - photo by Herb Scribner
Hold on, dont read this article yet. BRB.

Just kidding no one says BRB (be right back) anymore. After all, as Caitlin Dewey of The Washington Post reported, the phrase BRB is useless in todays modern Internet age since people are almost always online.

In fact, a Google Trends report originally reported by The Washington Post but then discovered independently by Deseret News National found interest in the term brb has been on the decline since 2010.

This is not an original observation, mind you: the rumored death of brb has recently become its own sort of meme, Dewey wrote. Since January, its appeared twice on the front page of Reddit and zillions of times on Whisper and Twitter: asynchronous social platforms that never needed that kind of signpost to explain a bathroom break or other brief absence from the computer.

The phrase was often used when people stepped away from their computers or instant messaging apps, Dewey reported. But as Internet use increased especially with smartphones, which are always by our sides and easily accesible BRB lost its worth since people are available at any moment and never truly away.

Thanks to the rise of the smartphone and SMS, and the mobile Internet being away from ones keyboard is no longer an excuse for not answering a text, she wrote.

But the loss of BRB may say something about our constant need to be online, and how Internet addiction could be ailing families.

Repeated studies have shown that we feel pressure to carry our phones everywhere: into our beds and our bathrooms, on our coffee breaks and to our family dinners, Dewey wrote.

Its more than just those activities. The Pew Research Center found earlier this year that smartphone users use their phones for information on health conditions, online banking, applying for jobs and taking classes. Theres almost nothing you cant do on a smartphone.

Young people will also use their phones to cure boredom, avoid other people around them and for directions, according to Pew.

In fact, the Pew Research Center reported that 46 percent of smartphone users said they couldnt live without their device. Thats not surprising since more than half of Americans will check their smartphone a few times within an hour, with 11 percent checking their phone every few minutes, according to Gallup.

This isnt necessarily a good thing for smartphone and Internet users. After all, some smartphone owners suffer from psychological issues when they cant reach their phone or they lose it, according to a 2015 study from the University of Missouri.

The study, which looked at smartphone usage habits of more than 40 college students, found that some users will often see an increase in blood pressure and heart rate if they can hear their phone ringing, but are unable to answer it, according to Time magazine.

It only gets worse when smartphone users dont have their phones near them, Russel Clayton, media researcher for the University of Missouri study, told Time.

They reported feeling a loss of identity, Clayton told Time. When objects become possessions, when we use them a lot, theyre potentially capable of becoming an extension of ourselves.

When digital natives born today grow up to be toddlers who are crying because a parent takes their iPad away, Clayton says that could leave us with interesting questions: Are they upset because they cant play their game? Or are they upset because they dont have the iPad, the object, the possession?

Recent research has also found that compulsive smartphone and Internet use can affect teenagers academic performance too since phones can disrupt sleeping patterns in the middle of the night, according to The New York Times.

So what can parents do to help themselves and their teens cut back on social media use? Larry Rosen, a psychology professor at California State University, told Time that parents may want to slowly wean their child off their smartphones and devices so that it doesnt look like a parent is punishing their child for using the device.

Rosen also suggests parents tell other people that theyre going to check their devices less to limit the risk of offending people by not answering them back after their message, Time reported.

You announce to the world that youre only going to check your phone once a half hour, Rosen told Time, and then you allow yourself a minute or two every half hour to check in, return a call, text back, and then turn it off and put it away.

Its also important to find a balance, where youre conscious of your smartphone use and are disciplined enough to limit the amount of time you spend on your phone, according to Susan Davis of WebMD. For example, you dont have to answer your phone every time it rings.

You can also set certain times or places where youll check your phone to limit the use, Nicholas Carr, author and researcher, told WebMD.

"You'll be surprised and pleased to rediscover the pleasures of being in control of your attention," he said.