Surviving 7 days without my phone

Most high school students panic when they realize their phone isn’t with them. We live in a phone-centered society, so how will one West Side Story staffer do when she goes a week without using her phone?


Kara Wagenknecht

Due to the obsession with smart phones, many have suggested that social media has harmful effects. The “social media” detox has been a recent developing trend and solution to the smart phone craze.

Realizing your phone is not by your side immediately elicits fear and panic, along with a mad-search through your bag and pockets. After asking all of your friends and the people around you if they’ve seen it, a feeling of depression and loss sets in, only for you to find it a few minutes later.

Our lives revolve around our phones, and the habit of constantly checking your notifications is nearly impossible to break. One West Side Story staffer attempted to only use her phone for its basic capability during a one week period: calling.


The Experience

Day one I immediately used my phone upon waking up. I do not own an alarm clock, and rely on my phone to wake me up. I looked at Amazon to see if there were any nice alarm clocks I could order quickly, but the ones that I would consider buying were ranged between eighteen and thirty-three dollars. Definitely not spending my money on that.

Usually when I wake up I also look at the weather on my phone. To avoid that I had the choice of looking it up in a newspaper, watching the weather station on television, or asking my parents. I decided to not look it up at all that morning, and to go on my way. It worked out in the end since it was quite chilly in the school.

Procrastination is a disease that plagues high school students, and although I have improved in this area, I admit I still need to work on it. The plan was to do my homework at lunch, but without wifi in the courtyard, I would need a photo of the math problems I still had left to do. Without my phone I already learned how to do something new–take a screenshot on my Chromebook. (For those of you wondering how to do this, just hold down “control”, “shift” and then the “multiple tabs” button. If you have no idea what that is,  it is in between the small gear and enlarge the screen button. Then you just drag what you want to take a screenshot of, and it should save in your “Downloads”. If you have no idea what I’m saying, just Google it.)

Luckily, I’m not a big social media user, or a big “texter” (sorry to my friends if you ever feel ignored), but I did feel like something was missing during my day. By the end of the day, I felt that checking my phone would somehow give me a comfort I had been missing. But I’m a dedicated staffer and decided I would not indulge myself.

I couldn’t use my aux cord, so I used one of those “old-fashioned” CDs. When I’m not at school, I pretty much always have my earbuds in. Yes, I can still listen to music without my phone, but to do this I have to carry around my hefty laptop–something not possible to do when going about my daily tasks. I ate breakfast each morning in silence. I almost resorted to reading a book a couple of times. Good thing I wasn’t going without all technology for the week. There were a few times throughout the week where I was sitting without anything to do, and I started to feel awkward. I desperately wanted to get on my phone to distract myself, but I just had to sit there with my thoughts alone.

It shouldn’t be this way. We should be content to sit patiently processing events that had happened during the day or mulling over what we need to do that evening. It’s a habit nowadays to go on our phones if we aren’t doing anything. Sometimes I’d look around near the end of class and notice literally everyone was on their phone but me. No one was really speaking to each other. There was just a blank silence, with everyone staring at a small illuminated screen.


The End Result

It was very, very hard not to cheat and just shoot a couple of texts to my friends. I thought of some of them as emergencies. For example, one friend was wondering if she could borrow some shoes for homecoming, and another needed to know my address. Calling them would have been easy, but it was an afterthought by the time I had sent the text. The last time I had a real conversation on the phone was when my parents forced me to speak with relatives. Honestly, talking on the phone shouldn’t be such a big deal, and yet I dread it a little bit each time.

I repeatedly used my phone to listen to music near the end of the week, and I often took pictures of schedules or textbook pages. But I would still say this experiment was fairly successful. Never using social media or apps that hadn’t come installed onto my phone was a triumph. I actually enjoyed being able to ignore outlets such as Instagram.

If I was to do this experiment over I would try to use my phone only to call, ask my parents to buy me an alarm clock, and slowly wean myself off of Spotify.


Serious Thoughts

I believe allowing ourselves to think instead of being constantly entertained can open us up to thinking about how to improve ourselves, our habits, and our future goals.

In today’s society it is nearly impossible to use your phone just for calls; social media helps us make new friends and maintain relationships and many apps come in handy with various aspects of our lives. That does not give us an excuse, however, to ignore others to plug into the latest drama or celebrity newsflash. If we really wanted to put our privilege to good use, we’d spend more time finding out about real world issues, and how we can contribute to those who do not have the same access to the technologies we enjoy.


If you want to try using your own screen a little bit less, the day-by-day detox below will help you on your way.

(This piktochart was inspired by PopSugar.)

If you are looking to be healthy in other ways as well, here is an article about a vegan’s diet: The ideal diet