Lake Zurich High School Student Media

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Lake Zurich High School Student Media

Bear Facts

Lake Zurich High School Student Media

Bear Facts

Spending 120 hours without my phone

For+five+days+I+did+not+look+at+my+phone.+This+allowed+me+to+live+in+the+moment+and+be+more+productive.
Photo by Tessa Fabsik
For five days I did not look at my phone. This allowed me to live in the moment and be more productive.

I spend three hours a day staring at a small glowing device. Time spent on my phone could instead be spent doing homework, talking to friends, playing sports, or practicing my instrument, but each day I choose to go on my phone. 

Three hours is minimal compared to other teenagers. According to a report by common sense media, the average teen spends seven hours on screens per day. This is a concerning statistic because phone use has negative effects on mental health, attention span, and overall productivity. To combat these problems, I decided to turn my phone off for five days to see how my life would change, whether it be for better, or for worse.

Background

I would not call myself a phone addict. I scroll through social media, I snap and text my friends, and I listen to music. I try to stay grounded in real life as much as I can. As my screen time began to increase, I had continuous urges to check social media. I felt the need for a detox. Specifically, I wanted to detox for five days without my phone, just long enough to see how my life would be affected.

Day One

On Day One, I had a lot of adjusting to do. Since I did not have school on Day One I had a lot of free time that I would usually spend on my phone. I had continuous urges to pick it up to cure my boredom, but I persisted. 

Without being able to take little phone breaks between assignments, I was also much more productive doing homework. I got my homework done faster than usual and felt as if I had a better understanding of the material I was practicing. 

I also had several epiphanies about my relationship with my phone: the first being that I was able to pinpoint exactly what I valued about my phone. I did not miss seeing the social media posts of people I barely knew. I did not miss scrolling through news articles and random social media posts. What I did miss was being able to text my friends and family. Checking the weather and scrolling through my camera roll were also things that I had taken for granted and now realized the value of them. 

Day Two

Day Two was rougher than Day One. I had school on Day Two, so I was much busier during the day and did not really think about my phone. It was weird not checking my phone between classes or at lunch, but it was not a big deal. 

However, when I got home from school, things changed.  Usually, when I get home I eat a snack and scroll through my phone. Other days, I will go for a run and use my phone to listen to music. However, when I ate my snack on Day Two, I did some thinking instead of scrolling on my phone.  On my run, instead of listening to music, I did more thinking. On Day Two, I did a lot of thinking, and it was actually driving me crazy because I was not used to thinking in silence for so long. I actually had the time to reflect on the day and my goals for the future. It seemed daunting at first, but overall it was kind of nice to be able to slow my mind down for a second and reflect. Usually, I just grasp onto social media when I am bored which does not allow me the time to really reflect on how I feel and what I want in my life. 

Day Three

On Day Three, I was getting used to not having my phone. The urge to check my phone had gradually subsided. I found my own sense of peace and was not worried about what I was missing on my phone. My connections and conversations with people seemed deeper because I was forced to keep up the conversation and focus on the moment. When I went to dinner with my family I felt like I was much more invested in our conversations because I did not have the urge to see who had texted me or what else was occurring in the world. I was able to live in the moment. 

On Day Three I also began to understand that being phone-free was inconvenient and not very sustainable. People would ask me if I had seen their texts, which of course I had not, I had no access to my virtual calendar, and if anyone needed to reach me it was a hassle.

Day Four

Of the five days, Day Four was probably the best. I barely thought about my phone. I continued to have deeper connections. I became more comfortable with having lots of time to think. I even looked forward to having downtime where I could reflect on my day and certain things I want to improve.  I was more productive in school and homework.  Yes, I missed social media posts or inside jokes my friends made in our group chat, but I did not mind. I was in my own world. 

Day Five

Day Five was also very calm. I had all of my new habits down and had a clearer mindset. By Day Five I was ready to get my phone back. I wanted to see what I missed, and I wanted to have a little bit of downtime with my phone. I knew I would approach my phone with a new energy but I felt like I had seen the effects of my phone-free cleanse and was ready to return to the online world. 

After

There were definitely many outcomes of this cleanse but just a few main takeaways. 

First, I realized that some of the habits I was engaging in on my phone did not really make me happy or help me in any way; these activities involved seeing posts of people I barely know and scrolling through random things on Instagram. I have decided I need to decrease the number of people I follow on social media to people I really care about. 

Second, I realized that I do not have to take my phone everywhere I go, from walking my dog or dinner with my family. Sometimes it is better to just have a phone-free moment. Now, when I am going somewhere I think about whether or not I really need to bring it, and most of the time I leave my phone at home. 

Finally, I’ve tried to cut out some time in my day so that I can just reflect on life without an urge to go on my phone. Thinking is an important part of life in my opinion. After a week of doing a lot of reflection and thinking I started to look forward to coming to new understandings of my goals and ideas. Which may seem strange but it seemed to keep me grounded. 

I think turning my phone off for an extended period of time was beneficial to me because I learned what I liked about my phone and what I didn’t like. I was able to set my priorities straight and I think everyone should give it a try because in the end it really is just a glowing rectangle.

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About the Contributor
Tessa Fabsik, Staff Writer
This is Tessa’s second year on staff and first year as Bear Facts' Junior Sports Editor. Tessa spends most of her free time playing tennis or soccer. She is also involved in NHS, Freshmen Foundations, French Club, and International Club. Outside of school, Tessa finds herself walking her dog, Finnick; reading; baking; or obsessing over Taylor Swift.    

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  • K

    Kathy FabsikNov 29, 2023 at 7:01 am

    Great article!! I agree with your analysis. Society is hooked on their phones. Everyone should try a phone cleanse. Good for you!!

    Reply