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October 22, 2014

Cell Phone Fast

I know we all have that fear of our phones falling and hitting that exact spot that would stop all phone functionality. Welp that happened to me earlier this month. I always ask myself “What happens when technology fails?” This situation gave me the opportunity to try something new. I decided to go a week without my smartphone or any phone for that matter. I had no real expectations for what would happen, but I wanted to see how dependent I really was to my phone.


Day 1
Not bad, I can’t listen to music, but luckily I still had my reliable Zune from high school. Yeah it’s a zune, but it still worked with a ton of old songs I forgot I had. Bus rides were still tolerable, but not the same. With no apps, I relied on my computer and communicated through Google hangout and Facebook messages.

Day 2
Not that bad either and I realized when I didn’t have a computer near me, I really didn’t have to ‘answer’ to anyone: well anyone that wanted to contact me. I found out I made myself too available sometimes. This pseudo exclusivity I put myself in made feel important.

Day 3
Okay this is where things start to go astray. Monday was closely approaching and I used my phone as my alarm clock and I needed to find another one. Luckily I had received my pebble smartwatch in the mail and was able to set alarms on it. Also one of my earbuds stopped working which made those bus rides to class even worse.

Day 4 - 7
Ok so not answering people is great, but I couldn’t contact anyone else either. It really didn’t hit me until I had to complete some team assignments and no one in my groups could contact me. Well they could, but I couldn’t reply until I got to a nearby computer or pulled out my laptop. I ended up having to wait on people so they wouldn’t have to call me to find me. I had to have patience.


Overall I think the experience taught me a lot about myself. I didn’t realized how often I used my phone. There were even a few times where I thought I felt my pocket vibrate knowing good and well I didn’t have a phone. My phone had a mental hold on me. It helped get through the day and prepare for days to come. Since I didn’t have instant access to information, I didn’t get distracted as often during assignments. I wouldn’t say I become more productive, but my attention span was definitely better.

Follow us at @myHealthImpact as we continue to discuss important topics around technology and your mental health.



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In Partnership with: Poole College of Management, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, National Science Foundation, Penn State

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
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