Digital Detox

Teenagers make contact with their phones upward of 2,617 times per day.

image courtesy of Picserver

Teenagers make contact with their phones upward of 2,617 times per day.

Abigail Thomas, Assistant Editor-in-Chief

I’m an addict. Let me repeat that. I’m an addict. I’m addicted to my social media. And 2020 is the time for me to change my ways… soooo no more social media. Nada. 2020 is also the time for social experiments and seeing how well I can thrive without my phone. 

So I started second semester off with only half the apps I usually do. I know—I just said no more social media, but cutting my apps by half is a good start. And, don’t get me wrong, although it may seem like I deleted them to “focus on myself” and “be more involved” with life, the thing that spurred me to do it was the fact that my screen time was off the charts. Oh, the irony. 

Tik Tok was the main problem. 

Tik Tok time is on a whole other level. Five minutes on Tik Tok, swiping through the videos and watching cool dances, turns into five hours in real time. 

And honestly, on top of that, I’d turn on my phone every five minutes to see if I got a notification, so something had to change. I know I’m not the only one; the average person touches their phone 2,617 times a day. Two thousand, six hundred, and seventeen times. That’s insane. But, I guess that makes sense. As teenagers, we need to see what others are doing; we were born with FOMO. 

Your phone is probably in your arm’s reach right now if you’re not already reading this article on your phone. Am I right?

So 2020, new year, new me. It’s just over a week into my social experiment, and here’s what I think:

So did deleting my social media apps reduce my screen time? Definitely. I check my phone maybe fifteen minutes now, and that’s it. It’s going to take me awhile to stop grabbing my phone to check my nonexistent social media though. 

Do I feel more connected to the world and the “experiences” of life? Honestly, no. I’m not some wise Yoda now that I’ve deleted my social media. I still feel awkward when talking with other people, maybe even more awkward without having a phone to rely on. And I’m still not doing more fun, crazier things now that I’m “phone-free.” 

Did I see other benefits from deleting my social media? Kind of. Although I regret losing my really long streaks on SnapChat and don’t really enjoy the feeling of knowing less about what’s going on in school, I think a digital detox really has some benefits. 

I’ve reduced my multitasking habit by deleting my apps. I no longer scroll through my apps while doing homework, so I’m getting work done somewhat more efficiently. I also find it a little easier to fall asleep since I don’t check my phone before going to bed like I used to. After all, that’s backed up by science—blue light from screens messes with your sleep. It also increases your risk of serious illness like obesity, cancer, and diabetes.

Deleting my apps made me realize how dependent I used to be on my phone during social situations. Diagnosing the problem is the first step at solving it, am I right?  Some studies say that spending less time on social media and your phone lengthens your life, which is just like an added bonus. 

So is it reasonable for everyone to try a digital detox? 

I guess deleting all your social media apps can seem extreme, but there are ways to ease into it. You can avoid using your phone in the mornings, turn it off when doing homework, put your phone down during lunch, set screen time limits, and have Do Not Disturb settings on your phone. 

You don’t have to go extremes and delete every app on your phone. Just do something that changes things up. It’s refreshing to take a break once in a while.

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