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The Spartan Review

The Student News Site of Athens Academy

The Spartan Review

The Student News Site of Athens Academy

The Spartan Review

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OYSP, The Place to Be
April 25, 2024

Putting My Phone Down and Picking My Life Up

Putting My Phone Down and Picking My Life Up
Caroline Fowler

“Sometimes you just need to put down your phone and live in the moment” (Unknown).


Earlier this year, I had the rare privilege of not having my phone for three weeks. Now, this may not have seemed so great to me at the time, but ultimately, it led me to change my whole outlook on phones and social media. Being without your phone on a camping or hiking trip is one thing, but not having your phone at school? Everyday life looks so different. 


“You learn the hard way. That’s the thing with social media. Nobody knows what they’re doing” (Cameron Dallas).


We are told, scolded, and lectured about being on our phones by parents and teachers. We are sent studies about why social media is bad: how TikTok is manipulating our minds and stealing our information, why Snapchat and Instagram create unhealthy insecurities stemming from comparison and worry over our appearance, that large amounts of screen time can lead to physical as well as mental issues, and how relationships are becoming more and more superficial as many of our social interactions move online.


 We know all this, and yet we constantly make excuses, even acknowledging our unhealthy addiction to our phones and social media but justifying it based on the fact that everyone is doing it. I think, deep down, everyone wishes we lived in a world without phones, but our society is so wrapped up in using our phones that we fear being the only one not participating. 


“The best moments of my life don’t make it to social media” (Rosalynn Mejía). 


At first when I wasn’t on my phone, I  felt stressed. What if people needed to reach me? What if people were texting about something that I wasn’t included in? I felt like my access to my emotional support system, my friends, was lacking and not there when I needed it. I felt like maybe people wouldn’t be as willing to tell me stuff if I wasn’t as easy to get in touch with. However, I found myself relying more on my family, re-forming a bond that seemed to have significantly diminished since the start of high school, if not earlier. 


This anxiety over disconnection slowly turned into gratefulness for the feelings of independence and self-awareness I was experiencing. Though I still greatly loved and appreciated my friends, I was starting to forge a more separate path and gaining a better understanding of who I was. I went from feeling lonely to alone and happy. I started spending more time reading, journaling, talking with my family, and just thinking about whatever. I started feeling okay not knowing what everyone else in the world was doing all the time, and instead began focusing on MY OWN LIFE.


“So many people treat life as a constant status update. It’s as if they’re more concerned with how their lives look than how their lives feel” (Unknown). 


When briefly stopped at stop lights or watching TV or having just one free second of time, I didn’t feel the need to pull up Snapchat or TikTok to fill the space. When walking into a room with no one to talk to, waiting in line in public, or on break for/walking to and from class, I didn’t pull out my phone, and I learned not to feel insecure that I wasn’t on it. 


In fact, not being consumed with not looking like I didn’t have anything to do or someone to talk to allowed me to realize how everyone around me is wrapped up in their own society-created insecurity. My confidence increased so much, and I learned that nobody really cares about what I’m doing anyways. I learned to appreciate all the time and space and notice all the nature and amazing things I had missed. I even felt like I was dreaming more, if you can believe that, like a whole new part of my brain had been unlocked, one that only showed itself when I was a little kid. 


“The truth is – disconnecting myself and my personal life from the online world felt liberating. Scary, but very liberating” (Unknown). 


Though phones are a part of the world we live in, we can control them and not let them control us. For example, for the New Year, me, along with some of my friends and family, deleted some to all social media, including Instagram, Snapchat, VSCO, TikTok, and Youtube. Though seemingly such a small thing, it can be so hard to do, but the impact is huge. The freedom of having your own time, not impeded by pictures or chats received or sent, not filled with eight second videos to scroll through, all to yourself, though stressful at first, soon becomes a kind of relief.


 Faith Fowler says, “My screen time went down three or four hours! It was seriously cut in half.” 


Nina Rutledge says, “Being off social media for a while has allowed me to reconnect with my hobbies such as reading and painting.” And I can say that I, too, am so much happier, and have grown so much. 


We only live once, and life is about so much more than a screen.


“Putting my phone down and picking my Life up” (Lauren Snyder).

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