Cell Phone Detox: Volunteers go 5 days without their phones

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TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – In today’s world, you may feel like your phone owns your life. From the constant text messages, emails, endless application options, and of course, scrolling through social media.

Did you know you touch your phone 2,617 times a day?

Three local women wouldn’t disagree with that fact either.

“I use my phone for an alarm clock, I use it for notes, social media, to check my bank account, music, GPS, everything all the time,” Kaylee Erickson said. 

Casey Smith said she uses it for music, texting friends, SnapChat and other social media sites.

“Emails, calling, checking my account, music, social media, note-taking, almost anything, and everything,” Desirae Marston listed off what she uses her phone for on a daily basis.

So, we put these three local volunteers to the test where they turned off and gave up their phones for five days straight.

Fear was the initial reaction for some.

“I got scared just because of emergencies,” Marston said.

Others had a quick realization. 

“At first I was like, it’s only a week I can do that,” Smith said. “The more I thought about it, I was like oh my gosh I use my music for my phone [sic], my alarms are on my phone.” 

However, all three said they were ready and excited to take on the challenge.

“It might be nice to unplug and see if I could do it and the difficulties that might come along with it,” Erickson said.

We were there when each became unplugged and had the ladies take videos throughout the week about how their cell phone free days were treating them.

“All my roommates are gone now and I have no idea where they went, and I can’t even text them to see where they are,” Marston said.

“I couldn’t reach out to my sisters, to my family, so I really missed my phone,” Erickson noted on day two.

Smith admitted on day two it was a little more difficult than she expected. 

“Somehow it is getting a lot harder, I couldn’t tell if I wanted to reach for my phone for comfort,” said Marston.

Smith noted one of her challenges on day three. “It’s hard when others are on their phones and kind of makes you want to get on yours.”

Even while the days seemed to become hard without their phones, they all found some unique positives about being unplugged.

Marston spent one-night coloring and read a book.

Smith said she felt stress-free. 

Erickson said when she went to get her oil changed it was refreshing to not have her phone to occupy her. 

On day five we checked back in with the women.  All three are taking away different messages.

“Normally I’m okay being by myself, but I guess it’s because I’m by myself with my phone,” Marston said. “It made me realize, am I ignoring the people right beside me because I have so many other friends I can catch up instantly with on my phone?”

“One day someone just showed up and was like, we’re going to go get ice cream and I was like oh okay, because those aren’t things that usually happen,” Erickson said as she noted she felt she spent more time with people without her phone.

There’s one thing all three agreed on, without being prompted, about what they missed the most about their cell phones. Safety.

“I realized that I will still take my phone with me everywhere because, it’s the just in case,” Smith said.

Marston and Erickson called their phones a safety net and protection piece.

After 120 hours without their phones, they were eager to turn them back on.

Most noticeably for Marston, she had 14 missed calls and 5 voicemails.

“I have 14 missed calls, 51 text messages, 80 facebook notifications, 20 for twitter,” Erickson listed off.

While they did miss quite a few things, all three said it was nice to have a week off.

“I realized that my life really hasn’t changed without my phone.” 

So sometimes it is just good to give yourself a break whether it be five days on vacation or just a couple hours a day. However, it’s also scientifically proven that the stimulating colors on your phone are keeping you more addicted to checking it. 

So why not switch it to grayscale mode a few times a day?   

Here’s how you can try to “go Gray” and curb your addiction:  
Settings – General – Accessibility – Display Accommodations – Color Filters – Grayscale 

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