Last semester, I took a psychology class that gave out the assignment to not use your phone for an entire day. A task that sounds seemingly simple ended up being shockingly difficult. This was the first time I realized how much I rely on my phone not to stay in touch with my friends but as a security blanket.
Normally, when I am sitting alone, waiting in line for something, or have nothing to do I check my phone to get this false sense of not really being by myself. I find comfort in the funny videos and pictures that my friends send to me, and can escape the awkward one minute lulls in my day.
This fidget that I have developed is learned behavior from my friends around me. During my assignment, I became painfully aware of how often my friends sit on their phones together. We spend more time checking in on other people’s lives than actually talking about our own. With busy class schedules, tests, papers, and more, time is a limited resource on campus. I never realized how many moments that I miss out on my friends lives because we are spending our together on our phones. It is crazy that people accept that as being "quality time" with friends and family.
With newspapers, social media, payments, and shopping all at our fingertips and the convenience of it all it is no wonder people are spending more and more time on their phones. But since a cell phone’s main use is for communication, it should not get in the way it. In that one phone-less dinner I asked more random questions to my friends than ever, giving me a more detailed idea of what is actually going on in their lives.
What I learned through my twenty-four tech-free hours is obvious; hanging out with your friends without your phones is way more fun than hanging out with your phones.
I’m not going to lie, at the end of that day I could not wait to check my phone, but I did so with a new perspective. I felt more comfortable with the uncomfortable and was adamant about putting my phone away during meals. In all honesty, I can still be found on my phone when I am alone, but I am more cognizant of being on my phone when I am with others. I have redefined quality time as actually talking to my friends without my phone. A constraint that sounds unnecessary, but is definitely beneficial.
Can you go 24 hours without your phone?