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Sensible Screen Time

We wake up and check our phones for notifications. We get ready for school while scrolling through Instagram. We respond to snapchats between classes. When we arrive home after a long day, we scroll through TikTok or watch YouTube for hours.  There is no question a significant portion of each day is spent on our […]

We wake up and check our phones for notifications. We get ready for school while scrolling through Instagram. We respond to snapchats between classes. When we arrive home after a long day, we scroll through TikTok or watch YouTube for hours. 

There is no question a significant portion of each day is spent on our phones. But exactly how much time do we really spend is a mystery to most. I am well aware I check my phone a lot, but when IPhone introduced a feature that breaks down exactly how many hours are spent doing what on a phone each day, the statistics shocked me. It honestly served as a huge wake up call of exactly how I was spending my given time each day. This left me questioning how many days, weeks, or months we spend engaged in a screen instead of being present in real life? 

I started by (ironically) turning to the internet. I found that the average person spends over three hours a day on their phone. This comes out to almost 46 days a year. I can’t help but think about all of the other ways we could be spending those hours.

Catherine Price, the author of the best selling book, How to Break Up With Your Phone, says it this way, “it is disturbing to realize that with our phones, we are constantly interrupting ourselves from what we’re doing. Even if the distraction is very short, we’re still pulling ourselves away, and that means we will have to devote more time to getting back to what we were originally doing.” 

When asking my friends to look at how many hours they spend on their phones a day, some were shocked and didn’t even want to tell me. Tyler Valerio (‘21) was surprised on how fast his hours added up.

“I don’t even realize and then all of a sudden it tells me I’ve spent seven hours on my phone.”

Not only does this Screen Time feature show how many hours are spent on a phone, it also shows how many times a phone is picked up each day. Tyler Webster (‘21) shows me his statistics. Agreeing with the numbers he says, “Yeah, I pick up my  phone a lot. But I don’t stay on it for very long each time.”

Although our spending useless time on our phones can become very consuming, many CB students are aware of this problem and trying to fix it.

Rubi Fernandez (‘21) mentioned she went through a phase where she tried to get her screen time down as low as possible.

“I would power down my phone once I got to school and keep it off until later in the evening. I got to a point where it totaled to around 45 minutes a day and it honestly made my life so much better,” she says. “It was hard at first, but every time I’d reach for my phone, I’d just stop and think about why I’m not. Eventually it got really easy and I kinda just forgot about it.”

Additionally, there’s a feature that allows the user to set “downtime” from an IPhone every day for certain times. There is also the ability to set time limits for certain apps.

Alyssa Traina (‘21) tells me how she currently tries to limit her time spent on social media.

“I recently set hour limits on all of my apps to make sure I don’t spend my whole day on it. Knowing that I have a limited amount of time helps me be more aware of exactly how much time I’m spending, and it keeps me from mindlessly scrolling through apps for hours.”

Sometimes I not only miss out on life going on around me, but I forget what it’s like to be simply in the moment. Although I sometimes feel bad seeing how much time I spend on my phone, I think it has been extremely eye opening seeing my daily statistics. It has inspired me to set specific hours for phone usage and a set amount of time for certain apps. I’m hoping to make more of a conscious effort to actually think before I go on my phone and take back control of how I spend my time. 

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