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Screen-Time Affecting Teenager’s Lifestyle: A Self-Experiment

Since the introduction of smartphones, the use of technology has developed and adapted to our everyday lives. It isn’t uncommon to encounter technology in public, school, work, or even our homes. The widespread use of electronics has caused many to develop a dependency on these objects, making technology an essential tool of society.

A study conducted by Mayo Clinic in 2022 shows that 35% of teenagers from 13-17 years old use at least one form of social media multiple times throughout the day. Throughout the years, social media has become an integral part of everyone’s life, from children to teenagers, parents, and even grandparents. This has led to an increase in screen time, with people spending anywhere between 6 to 10 hours a day on their screens.

As a busy teenager and student, I was surprised to see that the average time I spend daily on my phone reached approximately 8 hours. This felt overwhelming, knowing that a lot of my productivity was wasted by mindlessly scrolling through my phone.

Seeing my screen time, I was determined to see how social media impacts my everyday life and what would change if my access to these applications were limited.

In order to challenge myself, I decided to restrict social media and limit my screen time to only necessary situations to see if it would make an impact on my day-to-day life. In this week-long experiment, I excluded schoolwork from this restriction, knowing I needed to use my computer and phone for certain assignments.

On the first day, I found it hard to adjust to the new routine. Switching from using my phone constantly throughout the day to only a small amount was a drastic change. I often found myself bored or anxious to know what was going on in the world. However, I kept myself busy by doing schoolwork or talking to friends.

By the end of the day, I noticed a significant difference in the amount of time I spent using my phone. My screen time was reduced from a whopping 8 hours and 40 minutes to 2 hours and 35 minutes.

I found it a bit easier to follow my plan of reducing phone usage on the second day. I started to become conscious of times when I would usually be on my phone, such as waiting for classes to begin or waiting to get picked up after school instead of being engaged with the world around me. By the end of the second day, I was able to cut down my screen time to twenty minutes less than the previous day.

As the week progressed, I noticed how accustomed I got to not checking my phone. I also acknowledged how clearer my mind was. My attention span at school and in general was much more heightened now that I wasn’t distracted by social media.

Though the lack of stimulation from my phone had positive results, I still felt some detachment and uncertainty about staying off my phone.

I often found myself feeling that I lacked social interaction, thus leading to loneliness. I often worried that I missed something important, such as a big event or announcement. However, I knew that the good effects outweighed the bad, so I persevered.   The rest of the week became much easier with routine. My phone usage had decreased by 64% compared to the previous week.

During the week, I spent quality time with my family and dog. I also made time for reading and bike rides, which helped me stay calm and peaceful.

Though the use of technology will always be incorporated in our lives, distancing from the dependency of it has proved to be a healthy practice. In just a week alone, it led me to become more productive and accomplish more tasks in a day. I felt calmer as I had more time to complete my daily activities and schoolwork since I was not wasting time on my phone.

It’s been a couple of weeks since I started using my phone normally again. Although I haven’t completely limited my screen time, I have reduced it significantly after realizing how much it was affecting me. I have observed positive outcomes from the self-experiment I conducted, and it has helped me to lead a better and more peaceful lifestyle.

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