Put Down Your Device; Taking a Break from Your Phone
I received my first cell phone when I was 10 years old. It was an old-fashioned flip phone with a traditional number pad (the kind you have to press repeatedly to switch letters around if you want to text). It was to be used to contact my parents and let them know where I was, or otherwise, in emergencies… not that I really had anyone else to call, anyway. At the time, few kids my age had—or really needed—their own phone. I faithfully carried the device around in my backpack, but seldom took it out of its pocket.
Years later, I have upgraded to more modern smartphone technology. My device allows me to organize meetings, set schedules and due dates, and synchronize and back up data with my other devices. With my phone, I can get in touch with anyone I want at any time, whether by calling, texting, or using social media. I have incorporated this device so seamlessly into my daily routines that when something goes wrong—lack of battery power, signal loss, etc.—I am left completely disoriented. Truth be told, it is now very difficult to imagine life without my phone.
“Unplugging”, or taking a break from your device, might seem like more of a burden than a blessing; however, powering down offers its fair share of benefits. Spending hours playing games on your device (and likely avoiding other more important tasks) is not a very productive use of time. Furthermore, texting or scrolling down newsfeeds can actually be an extremely impersonal way to communicate with another person. You might find that you enjoy someone else’s company much more without your device to distract your attention all the time.
There is nothing wrong with using a cell phone, but consider turning it off or leaving it at home every once in a while. Here are some suggestions for avoiding cell phone dependency:
Set your limits. Decide how long you want to go off the grid. If a whole day without checking your phone seems daunting, start with an hour (which shouldn’t be too hard!).
Have alternatives ready. Your phone is supposed to make certain things easier for you, but there’s no reason you can’t find ways to do these things on your own too. For instance, you might not necessarily need to add a couple things to your electronic shopping list—try to remember what you need or just jot it down instead.
Make it fun. Ever heard of the dinner-table game that makes the first person to check their phone pay the cheque? You can turn powering off into a fun activity or competition. This is also a great way to involve your friends (and let them know you aren’t just ignoring their texts).