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Healthy Phone Habits for the New School Year

As much as we hate to admit it, our phone addictions are getting in the way of our productivity. Phone use is becoming more and more ubiquitous, with teens spending almost 9 hours every day consuming media. I will often find myself unconsciously reaching for my phone and opening up Instagram – falling into the rabbit hole of mindlessly scrolling – a problem I’m sure many others experience too.

The mindless scrolling and constant notifications we get from our phones distract us from the things we need to be doing, such as homework. When I allowed myself to use my phone while studying, I found myself taking an unnecessarily large amount of time doing simple tasks, losing my train of thought, and staying up late trying to finish everything. I let this problem go on for months, before finally coming to my senses and realizing I needed to take concrete actions to curb my addiction.

Here are some changes that I have implemented in my lifestyle:

1. Delete Instagram and Snapchat before tests

This is actually a tip used by many people at my school. Whenever we have a “hell week,” or a week where for some reason all the teachers decided to load up tests, quizzes and projects on us, many of us will make the responsible decision of deleting Instagram, Snapchat and other social media apps off of our phones. This doesn’t mean deleting the account permanently (though if you want to do that, go you!) but just temporarily removing the app off of your phone to limit distractions. Part of the reason why we habitually open social media apps so frequently is the because of the convenience of them being right on the phone screen. If now in order to access the app you have to go into the app store and re-download it, you most likely will be too lazy or will be able to gain self-control before doing so.

2. Put your phone in a different room when studying

Again with the convenience theory, you are less likely to check your phone if you have to walk all the way to another room. Additionally, putting your phone in a different room will prevent you from hearing or seeing notifications. Sometimes I will suddenly think of an idea for a paper, but a little buzz from my phone causes me to divert my attention and lose the idea completely. This tip allows you to be fully attentive and immersed in your studying, which is much more beneficial than switching back and forth between studying and looking at your phone.

3. Switch to airplane mode before bed

Getting enough hours of uninterrupted sleep is crucial to not only your functioning in school but your well-being in general. We already stay up so late because of the loads of homework thrown upon us, it would be unwise to lose even more sleep checking notifications at 2 am. Airplane mode turns off your wifi, therefore blocking all notifications from apps needing access to the Internet.

How we handle our phones is a testament to our self-control. Social media is undeniably amazing, it allows us to express ourselves, and connect with people from all over the world. But like Friar Lawrence says in Romeo and Juliet, “Virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied.” When we let our phones take control of our lives, this seemingly virtuous object piece of technology becomes an addiction.

Photo: Nora Li 

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Nora was born and raised in Houston, Texas. When she has the occasional break from cramming for school, she enjoys singing, listening to music, dancing, reading, and watching The Office.

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