Phone Detox; Could You Do It?


Could you live without your smart-phone for one month? Your answers probably range from a maybe to a resounding no—certainly nowhere near a yes. I had the exact same thoughts on the first day of my one-month phone detox. Not because I didn’t think I could handle not texting or using social media, but because I had forgotten to buy a watch.

The first thing you realize when you stop using your smartphone is how hard it is to tell the time. For almost all of human history, time was told by the position of the Milky Way’s celestial bodies—the sun for hours and the moon for months. Eventually, clocks overtook this ancient method and launched time telling into the modern era. Still, clocks are often subject to hiccups and must constantly be manually reset whether when entering a new time zone or twice a year for Daylight Saving Time. With a smartphone, this simple problem is easily solved. With the click of a button you can enter any time zone across the world, and most importantly, always know the time of your own zone. When that convenience is taken away, it is incredibly jarring—as if you’ve suddenly been disconnected from the world.

The disconnection didn’t stop there. Losing access to my phone meant I no longer had the ability to readily text my friends and family or the ability to read world breaking news seconds after being reported. I couldn’t use Snapchat or even talk to my friends on Instagram. The only real social media I had access to was Facebook—and I wasn’t about to let all my information be stolen, simply so I could keep up with BC news, because who else dares to use Facebook on a regular basis these days. On the flip side, these constrictions actually became liberating.

By not having my phone I no longer felt the constant need to check a rectangular metal box attached to my side. As I lacked the ability of constant communication, the conversations I did manage to have always had a purpose and a meaning behind them. While I missed the ability to pop in my headphones or pull up a newspaper article when situations around me became awkward, no phone meant that I had nothing to hide behind, freeing myself to have conversations with people I never would have talked to otherwise. Moreover, while not knowing the time every second of the day irked me out, I grew to find comfort in living in the moment, instead of always pondering when my next event would begin.

While I won’t suggest that you give away your phone for one month and transport yourself back to the 20th century, I ask that you become more cognizant of the intention with which you use your phone. Are you using it productively—maybe to call a family member who lives in another country or to research a question that just popped into your head–or, are you using it to mindlessly scroll down your Instagram feed or to snap someone you’ve kept a 2 year streak with, but haven’t spoken more than 5 words to that person in that same amount of time? Revel in the awkwardness that can occur if you put your phone away and engage in conversation with someone face to face. If you’re feeling lost as to how to possibly pry your addictive phone away, here are some helpful tips:

  1. Use Grayscale mode: By changing the colors of your phone’s screen to a gradience of white and black, you reduce the pleasure you feel from checking your phone, thus reducing the amount of time you will spend seeking a response from it.
  2. Create specific times in your day in which you outlaw phone use: Whether that be during the school day, at the dinner table, after a certain point at night, create a time in the day to be phone free. It doesn’t need to be long, it should simply serve as a resting period from the hustle and bustle of responding to tens of messages all at the same time.
  3. Turn off push notifications: By removing push notifications you will be less tempted to constantly look at your phone for the next message you will receive. You will become less anxious about when you’ll next receive a new message and in turn, become less addicted to your phone.


Most importantly, just strive to keep yourself accountable for the amount of time you spend using your phone. There are so many opportunities to see the world and experience memories–that will actually stick, instead of solely being recorded by your phone. So many more opportunities to speak to people and forge long-lasting memories.