I never thought I used my phone excessively until someone asked me a few weeks ago what my screen time was. I imagined I spent maybe two or three hours on my phone a day between Instagram, texting, games, and Snapchat. I was horrified once I saw the actual number. Before I out myself, check yours now and see how many hours you spend on your phone.
My average over a typical school week was… drum roll…. 8 hours and 17 minutes. With almost 14 hours of the time over the week being on social media. 14! Seeing these numbers I know I needed to get away from my phone. I deleted Tik Tok since I had spent so much time on it mindlessly scrolling, and now I was doing the same just on different apps.
The first step I took was to put app limits on my phone. I started by having an hour limit on social media and an hour limit on games. I also tried to set down time from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. when I typically wake up, but this did not last long. I found that going out with friends and trying to override the Do Not Disturb was just not working.
From looking at screen time, I found I spent the most time on iMessage, which was in the category of social media. This was a relief and also crazy for me to see. At least I am not mindlessly scrolling through Instagram and am actually talking to people. But “actually” talking to people is staring down at my phone and sending messages instead of looking up and talking to those around me.
Another piece of information that put my mind at ease (at least a little) was the fact some nights I used rain noises to help me fall asleep. This made my screen time on certain days jump seven to eight hours so was time that counted as screen time that wasn’t me staring at my phone.
After a week I chopped my screen time in half. I never hit the limits I set on my phone and I felt good about it. Whenever I was on my phone, I realized it and tried to put it away once I was done with the task at hand. Many times I found myself getting bored and wanting to pull it out, or being in an environment where everyone else was on it so I felt I should be too. As well as everyone on their phones, I felt out of the loop. Not replying to messages right away or seeing posts made me feel behind. An upside was I got a lot more done than was hands-on and I got more homework done. Though some of this was screen hopping. From using my phone to my computer, I could only cut out technology so much.
Overall I feel much better being off of my phone so much. Not just mentally, but also my neck! No longer slouching over or staring down I can take in the world around me! So if you checked your screen time at the start of this and needed a reason to get it down, these are just a few effects from my experience.