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I Wanted to Use My Phone Less. Here’s What Helped.

My bad habit is a common issue today: screen addiction. I have become so comfortable with having the world at my fingertips that it has become natural for me to pick up my phone whenever I have free time. I do spend time doing other things that are important to me—being with my family, reading, and pursuing my writing. But a lot of my day is devoured by time on my phone or laptop.

Not all screen time is bad. It has plenty of valuable uses—especially being able to connect to people thousands of miles away. I love being able to form and keep long-distance friendships, and I am able to do that more easily because of technology. Plus, anyone can find communities of like-minded people and learn about pretty much everything. My writing has grown a lot because of all the amazing resources I have found.

When Screen Time Leads Me Down the Rabbit Hole

The problem is when I stop using my phone and laptop to connect with people and grow as a person, and instead start using my devices to scroll endlessly through random YouTube videos and Pinterest. When you fall down that rabbit hole of too much screen time, it’s hard to get out.

Recently I have realized how much time I waste staring at my screens, so it has been my focus to cut back. It’s not an easy plan to follow through with.

Taking Control of My Screen Time

At my parents’ suggestion, the first step I took was to download an Android app called QualityTime, which breaks down the time I spend on my phone each day. Not only does it show me the overall time spent on my phone each day, but it also tells me how much time I spend on each app. It helped me figure out what I needed to be aware of when I was making choices about the time I spent on my phone.

That was absolutely the step that helped me the most with less screen time: using that data to become self-aware.

I was definitely surprised to see how much time I spent on various apps. In my mind I was thinking I was scrolling through Instagram for five minutes. Keeping track of my time made me realize that instead of just a few minutes sometimes it would be more than half an hour. Time can fly by really fast when you’re looking at a screen.

Sometimes it can still be a battle; it’s not something that I have mastered yet. It can especially be a struggle when I am suffering from my chronic illness and don’t have mental or physical energy to do anything else. While sometimes it is absolutely okay to relax in front of a screen, I have to watch that I’m not using my phone purely out of habit or to avoid real life.

Does your teenager have a problem?

I want to be in control of the time I spend on my phone, rather than letting it control me.

Adaline Griffiths is a student living in small-town Michigan, where her fondest days are spent nibbling on chocolate while curled up with a good book. When she isn’t surrounding herself with written words she loves spending time with her family and watching classics like “I Love Lucy” and “The Andy Griffith Show.”

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