I wouldn’t say I’m obsessed with my phone, but the very fact that this is labeled as a challenge speaks for itself. In this day in age, a scary amount of my interactions with people are through a screen, meaning I feel a constant need to have my phone with me at all times. How could I possibly go 8 hours without it? I would miss so much news, so many texts, and not to mention the constant flow of entertainment I have grown so accustomed to. I put all these fears aside this week and left my phone at home every day this week. I could still use it when I was home, but not at all during the car ride, class, frees, lunch, or even sentinel. The following entries are accounts of my week.
Today was surprisingly easy. I had a vision in my head of me staring blankly at a wall for an hour and a half during my double free -as I’m not one to usually do work- however, this was not the case. I was actually productive. Of course, I still had my computer to do an occasional BuzzFeed quiz, but I was not distracted by the dings of Snapchat, Instagram, iMessage, or any other app that constantly nags for my attention. I also barely noticed I was missing my phone. The ease of this first day reassures me that I’m not as much a victim of technology as I may have thought. The only real issue that stemmed out of today was trying to figure out pick up time with my mom, which had to be solved through the use of my friend’s phone. Overall, a little anticlimactic, but it was still an interesting day. I was also surprised that I wasn’t particularly excited or anxious to check my phone when I got home. It was kind of nice to go (moderately) unplugged for a day.
Today was a little different than yesterday. I was less productive and more bored and was pretty excited to get back to my phone at the end of the day. I caught myself reaching for my phone when it wasn’t there a few times, which says a lot about its usual role in my life. Overall it seemed like more of an inconvenience than anything else. I noticed the absence of my phone more than the previous day, but that’s to be expected, as I have gone to school with my phone every day since 7th grade. Being completely unplugged (my computer also died halfway through the day) comes with a sense of freedom and liberation. I’m staying present in conversations and class, which is always a good thing.
Having no phone is really stressful. Today I couldn’t find my friend when I needed her, and I was just overall bored during my free time. I’m used to Twitter and Instagram filling any gap of boredom that I have throughout the day, but with that missing, I’m left either doing work or using facebook – neither of which are interesting whatsoever.
Every day I leave school with a different perspective on my overall relationship with technology. Monday and Tuesday I was fine, yesterday I was frustrated, and today I loved it. At this point, everyone that would need an immediate response from me knows I don’t have my phone, with takes a lot of the stress and inconvenience away. While walking through the halls and talking to people without my eyes locked on my phone, I realized how not present I am when I have my phone. Every chance I get to look at my phone during school I happily take, seemingly scrolling the day away with little genuine connection to those around me. Without it I have no choice but to engage with other people. This challenge has me feeling like I’m living in 1950 or something, but I kind of like it.
This week I learned how deeply involved I am in technology throughout the day and the consequences of that. However, I also learned the upsides of it. Whether I’m trying to find someone in school, using it in a physics lab, or coordinating the time I need to get picked up, I need my phone. I am definitely going to be more aware of my phone use throughout the day, but I am for sure going to start bringing it to school again.
I do think I’m going to continue bringing my phone to school, however, I’ll be more aware of how often I use it and when. I think everyone should try this challenge. I realized a lot about my relationship with technology, how helpful it is in some cases, and distracting in others.
– Staff Writer, Mike Pizzani