Putting The Phone Down Can Change Your Life


Arielle Levine

According to “Inside Higher Ed,” 49% of students are distracted by “phones and other gadgets” in class.

I hate my phone. I can confidently say that my phone addiction has practically ruined  my youth. 

At the age of seven I received an iPad for my birthday. I began to delve deep into the online world: watching videos, playing games, and meeting people from around the world.

 What started as a fun activity turned into an addiction. Thirty minutes of screen time turned into an hour, an hour turned into two, and before I knew it I was completely absorbed in my electronic devices. 

I would refuse to go outside, play with friends, or sometimes even eat. My entire sense of life was lost. I was only living a life through a screen. Whenever I had time, I would be on my phone.

My addiction only grew worse as the years went on. Like any addiction, one to a phone is not easy to cure. The games, videos, and social media had me hooked.

 I tried numerous times to break free of it, but I would always fail. In the end, my head would always end up buried in the screen. My phone became an ingrained part of my life that I couldn’t live without. 

But after quarantine all of this changed. During an online class I got distracted and booted up a game. Once again, I was swallowed by the online world. But, oddly enough I did not get lost in my game as I typically would. I was hit with a deep realization that I had been staring at a screen for almost my entire life.

I was stunned by this reality and went searching for answers from my brother, who had dealt with and overcome a phone addiction in the past.

The conversation we had opened my eyes to the addiction that has plagued my life for so long. He told me that I would need to force myself to limit the time on my phone through self control and awareness. Disgusted with myself, I stopped using my phone so much, which forced me out of my comfort zone.

The methods I turned to in order to quit my addiction were practicing awareness, journaling, and “minute clocking”. Minute clocking is a practice where I would cut down one minute of phone usage everyday. These strategies guided me to be more aware of the time I was spending on my phone. Therefore, I was increasingly more aware and disgusted with my addiction, pushing me to get better.

According to Cross River Therapy, nearly one in three teenagers say they are “addicted” to their smartphones. There are a variety of strategies to combat addiction like monitoring your time or turning off notifications.

There is not one way to combat a phone addiction, every individual must find the method that fits their situation best. At first it will be a game of trial and error, but soon enough you will find yourself in a pattern where you notice yourself less absorbed by a screen. 

Once I instituted my preferred practices, the time I once spent on my phone was now available for my ambitions. Paragliding was something that I had always wanted to try. Now, all of a sudden I have more free time than ever. I used this time to explore paragliding, healing my relationship with the time I had lost to a screen as a child.

I also began to take my sports and health more seriously. I surrounded myself with friends who I enjoyed spending time with, I spent more time with my family, and gained so much more. Putting my phone down improved my life and made me treasure the experiences I previously ignored. All around, I was leading a fuller life.

The journey to ending any addiction is difficult, but the benefits are undeniable. I gained so much from simply putting down my phone, and I strongly encourage you to do the same. Nobody should limit their life to a screen.