Call me crazy, but I might be the only college student who recognizes she spends too much time on her phone and wants to change it.
Sure, other people acknowledge it, but I'm finally taking the initiative to do something about it.
On average (looking at "Screen Time" in my settings app), I spend close to 8.5 hours a day staring at useless apps on my phone. My most-used apps are Instagram and Tiktok. (Believe me, I know I'm too old for Tiktok)
I hate that I can stare at my phone for hours and hours without realizing it. How can I devote so much time to something so pointless?
I start by staring at Pinterest and looking for room ideas, hair ideas, and nail ideas. Then I move on to Instagram, scrolling through dozens of photos and hardly "liking" a single one. Next, I go to Facebook and glance at all of the ridiculous news in my feed. Sometimes I send a few links to my mom or my friends. And then I move on to Tiktok, the abyss for all of the hours of my day.
So I finally decided to put an end to it. I went into "Screen Time" on my settings app and set limits. I set downtime for evenings so that I can get to bed at a decent time. The hours per night vary depending on whether it's the weekend, I have an early class, or I just know that I'm going to have lots of homework that night. So at 12:30 in the morning on a Sunday night, all of the apps (besides things like iMessage, the notes, the calendar, and the clock) on my phone shut off. And because I don't have an early class on Monday morning (and I tend to prefer to sleep in), the apps turn back on around 9 am.
And then I set limits for my two favorite apps, Instagram and Tiktok. Each day, I can only use Instagram for 1.5 hours, and then it shuts off. For Tiktok, I set it to 1.75 hours. I'm not sure why I chose two different limits, but regardless, they're better than spending 5 hours without blinking as I stare mindlessly at those two apps.
Sure, I can "request" more time by entering my restrictions code, but I usually don't. I have the discipline to close out of them and do more productive things with my time. Granted, sometimes I do request more time if I happen to be out later than usual or am up working on homework and happen to need Google Chrome on my phone. But generally, I try to avoid it as much as possible.
When I tell people about this recent change in my life, they're appalled. You wouldn't believe how many opened mouths I've seen or gasps I've heard after telling family and friends about my dedication to this. It's shocking to see someone my age setting limits. I recognize that I tend to become a zombie when I stare at my phone, and I want to engage more with the world around me. Even people decades older than me cannot find that sort of discipline.
Studies and articles have proven that teens & young adults have poor sleep patterns because they stare at their phones for so many hours before attempting to go to bed.
I know how to be creative. I used to like to bead jewelry in my spare time. I loved going on walks on the roads behind my house. I used to just walk around my college campus for fun. I bought a camera to take pictures while I was out. But my phone consumed so much of my time that I couldn't look away long enough to accomplish anything. Now I'm getting my homework done as I ought to, and I'm able to focus on other things like spending time with family. And once the Indiana weather decides to behave itself, I'll be back outside doing all of my favorite nature-y things.
So if you're obsessed with your phone & want to make a change, start by setting limits for specific apps that you know you tend to use more frequently. The first step to fixing a problem is recognizing you have a problem. Today's a beautiful day to do something good for yourself. Put down the phone, go outside, and recognize the beauty of the world that you've been ignoring!