I Gave Up My Phone for a Week
May 21, 2019
So many regrets.
According to a study by Common Sense Media, teenagers use their phones for nine hours a day. They mostly use it to satisfy their needs such as seeing the latest popular trending videos, viewing your friends’ story, or binge watching PewDiePie’s latest Meme Review’s on YouTube.
But “Hey,”you might be saying, “I keep up with the news and use it for necessities.” Look reader I know but I bet that’s only 10% of your usage of your phone. It’s not like we’re enslaved by a small piece of technology. Or are we?
But have you ever thought of not using your phone for our enjoyment or not use it for a whole day? I did, and this is what I learned.
On average, I spend time seven hours and 23 minutes a day, totaling 51 hours and 45 minutes a week on my phone. Here’s a screenshot of my typical day:
The top media I use are: Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat which amount to 43 hours, 8 minutes alone each week.
I wasn’t aware how bad I was with the time sucking device.
So I challenged myself to not use the phone for a whole week.
To begin with I deleted all eight social media apps. Here is my screenshot of before and after the app purge:
The rules are simple: No using social media whatsoever, only use apps when necessary (so no texting your friends/family of the latest gossip and Chromebook, tablet, TV, or any device that has entertainment isn’t allowed.
With almost eight hours to spare the goal was to: Finish homework on the day it’s assigned, read a novel, study for California DMV Driving Test, connect with people, discover a hobby and go to bed earlier.
The only exceptions was music. But music could ONLY be used at the gym. And I recorded my progress for seven days with a notebook.
So here is the fallout of a teenager without a device and what I learned.
Notes from my Notebook, not my Phone
Log Date 4-15-19:
I notice when I wake up in the morning I open up my phone and go straight to social media. I keep turning my phone on and off as if all social apps will reappear.
When I go to the bus stop, I occupy myself with my book I started in January.
Note: Going to the bathroom is now boring. I found out that there are 356 pattern squares on one wall.
I read a lot of my book that night.
Log Date 4-16-19:
I forgot it’s block schedule week.
The first day without looking at my phone was pretty easy due to me being occupied, and yet, today it got to me. The word “bored” has a whole new meaning when it comes to this challenge.
Two days in and I have failed. Although I was trying to convince myself YouTube doesn’t count as social media, it still is a form of entertainment. I download the app and spend an hour bumping up my screen time twice as much as yesterday.
I later go to the gym and thank the stars I can listen to Spotify.
Log Date 4-17-19:
Today I accomplished some things from my to do list. I spend time on my phone studying the California DMV practice tests. I also read a few pages of my 525 page book.
Other than that, I sleep for three hours because I am bored and tired.
I do homework without my music, but I am able to listen to the tunes of my neighbor’s jazz band. I’m pretty sure the lead singer convinced himself he’s a great singer for the whole neighborhood, but he needs a few singing lessons.
I find time to practice for the DMV test on my phone.
And I read my book again.
Log Date 4-18-19:
I honestly do think that our phones limit communication. I learned that my economics teacher, Mr. Arredondo is a huge geek and we have a long conversation about old TV shows and Marvel movies.
Usually, when I get home I serve myself lunch and go straight to my phone and watch YouTube. Ever since deleting the app, I’ve started eat lunch with my mom. In all honesty, I haven’t had a conversation with her in a long time. I also get to bond with my dad more and we speak about a variety of things. Memories are made today.
I use my phone to complete homework.
And practice for DMV test.
Log Date 4-19-19:
Five days in and it’s an endless loop of suffering. When will it end? I didn’t know how desperate I was to use my phone until I took notice of how many times I keep turning my phone on and off.
Knowing that Friday is going to be boring, I decide to go to an AP Literature field trip of to see a “Othello.” The field trip is boring, but when you don’t have a device, everything seems interesting.
The play was surprisingly good, and I was able to experience a professional play for the first time. It was a pretty fun day, I ate pizza with field trip people and get to know my friends better.
Log Date 4-20-19:
I went to a baby shower today and it was pretty great. There were adults and kids at the party. I surprisingly converse with people, which I rarely even do. Instead of sitting and staring at the table, I had a conversation with two of my younger cousins about Harry Potter for 20 minutes straight.
Log Date 4-21-19:
Today is Easter. I’m glad I didn’t try to hide from my family by using my phone. Instead I spent time with them and share stories.
I download YouTube because my family makes me the DJ for Easter, popping out entertainment for screen time.
Finally, I have quality time with my family and spend time with my little sister just playing and hanging out with her.
I Survived and so can You
I finished the challenge. Seven days with no social media and it was rough, but you get used to it.
I accomplished all the things I said I would do. I read my novel from pages 136-262, practiced for my driving test, wrote small stories whenever I had free time, and of course, connected with people. Although I wrote down I would accomplish all my assignments that are given that day and sleep early, sometimes the assignments were too lengthy and kept me up till 11 p.m. Fail on that part, but overall completely passed the challenge.
My screen time decreased immensely. I went from seven hours and 23 minutes per day to an hour and 46 minutes per day. I seriously didn’t know I had that capability.
When I finally had all my social apps back on my phone, I started to notice how dumb it is to use them. Watching videos and keeping up with memes aren’t important. I felt more present without the phone and ever since I got my phone back I’m constantly confused with everything that is going on in the news and on social media. But that same week my screen time bumped up to four hours and 21 minutes per day.
S what can you and I take from this learning journey? Live in the moment and decrease watch time on the phone. In the end, what’s on the internet will stick around forever; you won’t.
It does change things for the better. It’s healthy to ignore your phone. Don’t believe me? Do this challenge, because I for one would do it all over again.
Inspired by Yes Theory Video “Deleting Social Media for 30 Days Changed My Life.”