I’m on my phone about 56 times a day. Or at least I was on Saturday. I opened Snapchat 35 times, Instagram 20 times, Tumblr 24 times, Twitter 3 times, Messenger 13 times, iMessage 43 times, e-mail 4 times, YouTube twice, and Spotify 10 times. I also made 2 calls that day, both to my mom. All the other times I was on my phone were to check the time, set a timer, snooze an alarm, take a note, or take a picture.
With my laptop, it was a lot less than I imagined, but I think it’s because the day was Saturday and not a regular school day when I’m on my laptop so much more than my phone. But to break things down for you, I was on my laptop about 12 times. I checked my email 6 times, Facebook 11 times, and Netflix 5 times. I also wrote a little on a work in progress, read some news, and printed a couple readings and double checked some assignments for my other classes.
Let me explain why I’m doing this for my non-Digital Humanities class readers, if theres any out there… I assume it’s just my mom who is that non-Digital Humanities class reader. So, mom, basically I was tasked with first, tracking the amount of times I use my phone and laptop in a day, and then, spend the following day without my (de)vices. So Sunday came and honestly… It wasn’t that bad. In fact, I really didn’t have a hard time with it, and I think it had a lot to do with spending a lot of time preparing for this particular Sunday.
Although I slept in a little longer than when I normally have my phone to wake me (I’d like to point out that I own an actual alarm clock too, it’s just become a decorative piece), I didn’t really mind it just because it was Sunday, and I didn’t necessarily have anywhere I had to be. Getting ready in the morning without Spotify or YouTube or Netflix wasn’t terrible either. I opened my windows and let the sound of wind blowing through trees and cars passing by in the distance fill my room instead.
I should put a quick speed bump on how idealistic this all sounds before you start to think that I was chilling all day. A good majority of the times I pined for my phone or my laptop, I reminded about how I’d only have to go on with this for X amount of hours left. I would get anxious that I was missing an important text message or an important call, or that I would get stuck in a place and have no way of getting help. It was especially hard to see people because I had no real way of knowing where there were and when they were there.
But anyways, back to my Sunday. After I got ready, I walked over to my friend’s dorm and then we walked over to get brunch before it ended. Because it was an extremely sunny and beautiful day, we laid out in the sun for a little and walked down to field to do some yoga, but I’ll be honest, this is something she and I do pretty frequently so it wasn’t like this tech-abstinence allowed me to be out in nature. I guess what made this time different was that I wasn’t able to check my phone when I wanted to.
Now this is something I kind of want to go on a small tangent about… I began to notice deep into Saturday that I rely on my phone heavily when I’m feeling anxious. It’s a little comforting knowing that I could contact whoever whenever, I could listen to whatever whenever, I could play whatever whenever, you get the idea. My phone provides me with a false sense of control and connection in my life, and that’s something I can now see as something I have to work on, but I don’t want to get to the conclusion of my article just yet.
When I got back to my room, I cleaned up a little, started my laundry, did some homework, took a nap, and by the time I woke up, the sun had set and there were only a couple more hours of this experiment that I had to endure. I had an alarm set on my actual alarm clock (!!!) to let me know when I had to attend a rehearsal for this show I was going to be in at the end of the month. I got dinner with two of my friends. I got home and wrote a little until my eyelids felt heavy.
And then it was Monday and I reached into the depths of my drawer to retrieve my phone and laptop. There were four text messages asking if I could cover someone’s work shift, one from my mom sending me some Sunday love, three asking if I was free to hang out, four memes, and a plethora from a group message I’m a part of, 13 Snapchats, a couple notifications from Tumblr and Instagram, 28 emails, and 19 Facebook notifications.
I’d be lying if I said I uncovered something profound about human nature and it’s relationship with technology with this experiment. I think if anything, I confirmed for myself a lot of the notions about humans and their varying addictions to their phones. In these past two days since, I feel a lot more self aware when I’m on my phone. I try not to check it so much anymore, I try to keep it a good distance away from me when I’m in my room or in my bag when I’m out.
Do I see myself ever giving up technology entirely? No, but I can see myself giving it up at least one day a week.