14 Day Cell Phone Detox
March 6, 2018
Christian Lous Lange once said that “Technology is a useful servant but a dangerous master.” Ever since we were kids, our health classes taught us the signs of addiction to drugs and alcohol. Drugs and alcohol could cause work/school problems, disruption of sleep, isolating or detached behavior, loss of control over the amount of use, compulsive using, and continued use despite the consequences.
It’s not like not having our cell phones actually makes us physical withdraw, but it’s possible you could be addicted. Does being on your phone keep you up late? Do you avoid people and just bury yourself in the never-ending scrolling of your Instagram feed? Do you risk getting caught using it when you know you shouldn’t be? We have been programmed to keep our phones glued to our sides. In fact, the average american touches their phone over 2,617 times a day! While technology used to be a useful servant, we have let it become our master.
The only way for me to know if cell phones are truly addictive is if I test it out myself, so for the next two weeks I have decided to give up my cell phone cold turkey. Many cell phone detoxes you find online tell you to take it “one step at a time”, but I thought that sounded boring. Instead of weening off of it, I am going to lock it in a drawer and not think about it, or try not to, anyway. If I am not addicted to my cell phone, then this should be no problem! However, if I find I am one of those people who suffers from nomophobia (the fear of being without your phone), then you all get to witness the process of me going insane firsthand.
About a month before I started this little experiment, I decided that it would be a good idea to track my cell phone usage for awhile, just to get a feel for where I was at. I went and downloaded an app called Moment, which tracks many different things daily, such as screen time, pickups, ‘sleep’, waking life, and your most used apps. Screen time is how many active minutes you are on your phone, pickups are how many time you simply turn it on, waking life is an estimate of how many years you will spend on your phone in your lifetime if you continue to spend that much time on it, and sleep is how long you left your phone unattended and unused. In order to use Moment (it only works on iOS devices), all you have to do is go into settings, go to battery, hit the clock icon by battery usage, and take screen shots of your usage. They will automatically upload to Moment, allowing you to start tracking. For the month of February, my screen time was totaled at 144 hours, which is about 4 hours and 7 minutes a day. My waking life is around 10.9 years. My daily pickups average around 53 a day, but I have 1,858 in total. My most used app is currently YouTube, and my sleep is around 8 hours and 46 minutes per day for a grand total of 307 hours and 5 minutes of total sleep.
After gathering that data, I then came up with some additional rules for me to follow. They aren’t really set rules, as doing these things won’t actually change the outcome of this detox, but I was hoping that if I followed them I wouldn’t go as insane.
1) Kill the notifications. Pretty much every app in existence sends you text message notifications from time to time. And while staying informed is great, you don’t want to be tempted to check your phone. Just because you hide it away, doesn’t mean you won’t want to get it out and check it.
2.)Unsubscribe from all of the email newsletters. It is worth it to have a less cluttered inbox. There is less to lure you in to check it. If you know it’s not there, you won’t want to go look at it.
3.) Keep it out of your bedroom. You don’t need a $800 phone to be your alarm clock and there are plenty of other things to do when you are bored. Keeping your phone means that you do not have easy access to it and won’t be as tempted to check it.
4.) Carry a book with you at all times. If you feel the need to check your phone you can read it and you may not feel as anxious.
Now it’s time for me to start my journey to complete insanity, as I jump headfirst into 14 days cell phone free!