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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Nottingham chapter.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who wakes up in the morning and the first thing I do is go on my phone to do the social media rounds. Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat; flicking from one to another until I am satisfied that I am up to date with the online world.

On Sunday morning however, my precious little routine was disrupted because I smashed my phone the night before and woke up to the dreaded, unresponsive, black screen. I immediately went into manic grief; formulating a repair plan to be executed as soon as possible. 

I was aware that I go on my phone regularly but, suddenly not being able to go on it at all made me realise how dependent I really am on that little black rectangle. I feel ashamed to admit it, but I felt lost without it. I found myself still carrying it around with me even though it didn’t work. I was asking my friends to borrow their phones, going on twitter on my laptop and I even put the broken phone in rice hoping for some miraculous recovery. But, I can confirm that my phone did not resurrect, and with the death of my Space Grey Iphone X came the realisation that I may, just may, be a bit of a phone addict. 

I needed the wake-up call and I’m glad it happened. It has made me think about why I am so reliant on my phone. Yes, phones are very useful for practical and safety issues. It’s comforting knowing that if you are ever in trouble you can quickly get in contact with someone and, vice versa. But, why do I feel the need to bring my phone with me from one room to another when I am simply just running downstairs to make a cup of tea? What is likely to happen in that short period of time that is so urgent for me to have my phone right next to me, practically on a lead? 

Phones have become such a big part of our lives and a lot of this can be attributed to the addictive nature of social media. It’s so easy to get sucked into it. I can pick up my phone to reply to a text message and next thing I know, two hours have passed, and I’m knee deep in Jordyn Wood’s Instagram profile trying to figure out if her and Kylie have made up. I say this light heartedly, but it is really quite scary how much of a distraction phones and technology have become. 

Smartphones are here to stay and there’s nothing wrong with them. It is, however, our excessive use of them that I believe is becoming problematic. Surely, I am not the only one that feels sad and disappointed when they see children in restaurants sitting at the table with an iPad in front of them. Technology has become a method of distraction from the moment. Next time you get on the bus, or the train, look around and I can guarantee the majority of people are on their phones or listening to headphones. When was the last time we just sat with our own thoughts, with no distractions, with no phone to pass the time? When was the last time you were truly bored? There is power in boredom; it is when our thoughts can explore new ideas. But such new ideas are unlikely to arise if we are constantly seeking stimulation from a screen. 

We are increasingly spending more time on our phones, perhaps convincing ourselves that Instagram-ing and snapchat-ing is social interaction when in fact, they couldn’t be more different. So, I am making a conscious effort to cut down the amount of time I spend on my phone. In times like waiting for the bus, or in the break between lectures, I am resisting that automatic reach for my phone and instead, using my time more productively, or just sitting with my own thoughts. It is amazing what you notice when you look up and detach yourself from the digital world for a while. 


Katy Townshend

Nottingham '21

Second-year English student at the University of Nottingham