How to break up with your phone


Photo by Ranine Jaber

taken by Ranine Jaber
Photo by Ranine Jaber

By Ranine Jaber

Ten hours— You can have a good night’s sleep in that time. Or you can take a plane to Europe. Or you can climb the Grand Canyon, para-glide off a cliff or kayak down a river.

Yet, young women, on average, use those 600 minutes on their smartphones a day, according to a new survey in the Journal of Behavioral Addictions. Men tend to use their devices two hours less than females, but the effect is nearly the same. According to a study by Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, a phone user checks his/her  phone an average of 150 times per day.

“I feel more prepared when I have my phone with me,” senior Kylie Bafus said.

Is this mini computer taking over our minds, spirits — our lives?  How can we restrain ourselves? The first step is acknowledging if you have a problem.

How do you know if you are addicted?

I’m glad you asked. Here’s a list of the typical symptoms:

  1. Your whole day is ruined when you realize you left your phone at home.
  2. Your not being able to connect to WiFi is a real-life struggle.
  3. You sleep next to your phone, like a loyal companion.
  4. You check your phone within 5 minutes of waking up.
  5. You take your phone to the bathroom.
  6. You use your phone even while in conversation.
  7. You promise yourself to go to sleep early but end up spending three hours on your phone in bed.

If the symptoms above pertain to you, you have an addiction. Is it bad to have a phone addiction?

Well, according to Amanda Hawkins in “5 Seriously Bad Side Effects of Your Smartphone Addiction,” there are unhealthy effects that have evolved from the obsession. Staring at your screen for hours can result in dizziness, blurred vision and strained eyesight, known as Computer Vision Syndrome. According to Lizette Borreli on, phone addiction has been linked to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, considering how many addicts use their phones during inappropriate times, like driving or in conversation.

However, there is a solution. Here are tips on how to initiate the breakup:

  • Download the phone app Checky. It keeps count of how many times you unlock your phone in a day. This may seem contradictory, but bringing awareness to a problem is already a huge step in solving it. After downloading it, use your phone the way you usually would, but at the end of the day, check how many times you’ve entered your pass code.
  • Put your phone off to the side and make a list of to-do things that don’t involve using it. Once you’ve completed all your tasks, you can use it as a “reward.” This helps in avoiding being distracted and gets you used to time without your phone.
  • Turn off the notifications button for all your apps. This can simply be a short-term resolution but a necessary step in backing off your phone.
  • Put your phone on silent so you don’t get distracted by the alert sounds.
  • Keep your phone out of your room at night. This avoids the temptation.

Senior Bella Sydenham admitted that she has an addiction. “Without my phone,  I feel incomplete, detached from the universe. With my phone, I feel a connection and am more in-tuned about the world,” she said.

However, she said she would consider “breaking up” with her device: “Yes, I feel like a lot of the times  we use our phones to enhance our lives, but it ends up taking over. I feel like if I didn’t have my phone, I would take in more of the beauties of the world instead of trying to capture it—more of a live in the moment.”

On the other hand, Eric LeVally, also a senior,  had a different outlook on the subject. Unlike Sydenham, he objected to  the idea of taking time apart from his phone. “Our generation has advanced so much that it has become such a significant part of lives. It’s almost comparable to one’s food or water. Think about how many times you check your phone during the day. Probably about 1,000, maybe 10,000 if you’re me. Leaving my phone would change the flow of my life and habits, kinda like a circadian rhythm. So a change as drastic as that would cause someone like me from our generation to pretty much start from square 1, learning to cope and function without it,” LeVally said.

Whatever side you choose to take, ask yourself if you are strong enough to take a break from your cell phone.