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It is Time for a Digital Detox, Start it After Reading Me

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

Modern America… digital devices, social media, you name it, we got it. With VR on the horizon, we’ve never been more interconnected. We posses the culmination of humankind’s wisdom at our finger tips, yet how present are we in our own lives?  The average American is awake for 15.5 hours, and sleeps 8.5 Frankly, no one I know gets that much sleep, but stats don’t lie, right? How are you spending your time? As you guessed by the title, this article is about people on their digital devices; Phone, TV and PC.

Alright, this is the part where I give you statistics, which you’ll probably check via Google, and you’ll then experience the stages of a break-up; Denial (“I don’t spend that much time on my phone”), anger, bargaining, depression… and fnally, acceptance. 

On average, an American is on their phone five hours a day. That’s 1,825 hours per year, or  2 1/2 months. Say that aloud, “I spend two and half MONTHS on my phone each year!” (And thats not even counting you Pokemon freaks!)

Let’s be real, in this day and age, you’ve got to be connected to stay up to speed. However, unless you’re on-call, the President of the United States, or waiting for “the results,” do you really need to be on your phone that much

Those five hours are not just spent exclusively on your phone. Most of the time when you’re on your phone you are simultaneously engaged in another task such as watching Netflix.  Oh, and guess what? Netflix subscribers cumulatively watch an average of 75 million hours of shows each year.  This breaks down to each individual consuming 1 hour and 33 minutes of shows each day. An hour and a half a day? Pshh. That’s childsplay. That’s not even binging the latest release to your favorite series.  

Whenever people are on their laptops, their phone is usually no more than arms-length away.  Have you ever opened Facebook on both your laptop and phone at the same time?  Concerning.  It’s almost guaranteed that even while relaxing in downtime, that cell phone is out with apps open.  Don’t get excited; you’re not ‘multitasking,’ you’re overlapping. 

Overlapping has become an outrageous phenomenon.  It is not often that I go out to dinner with friends, go to the movies or even sit through a lecture without someone’s phone taking up most of their attention. Think about the times you’re NOT on your phone, which includes funerals (one would hope), take off & landing (why, though?), interviews, and *technically* while driving. This list runs short if you take into consideration your personal cellphone use habits.  

Have you ever felt the ghost vibration of a text message?  Have you ever opened an app without even realizing it? Let’s talk about our semi-psychotic behaviors. “Was that my phone?” That’s a hallucination and it’s scary. These are all symptoms of mental disorders.  These tendencies should be a sign that this habit has become an addiction. 

In this progressively modern era, we must embrace connectivity while remaining present in our reality. The five hours a day, on average, you spend staring at the screen of a phone could be spent watching a sunset, studying with increased concentration -this doesn’t have to be a joke – or looking at the people you love -gotta be worth something.      



Her Campus Utah Chapter Contributor