Science explains what happens to one’s brain when not with phone for one week!
According to a study published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, “Sudden cessation of online social networking may, in some chronic users, cause signs and symptoms that at least partially resemble the ones seen during drug/alcohol/nicotine abstinence syndrome.”
With that alarming bit of information in mind, consider this small study done at Capital City Academy (CCA) in London. Called the Disconnect project, researchers took a group of 15-year-olds from the school and quizzed them about their gaming and social media habits. Then, they asked them to give up their precious smartphones for a week. Half the class volunteered to use a basic flip phone for a week (not sure about the other half). How did they react, you ask?
“Initially the students were dismissive,” says Sally Llewellyn, a teacher at CCA. “But the more they considered it, the more interesting the prospect of disconnecting became. Once we started looking at what they’d done the previous week, and how much time they’d spent on their smartphones and games, they were horrified.”
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Some students voiced concerns about how they would fill their time, since both gaming and smartphones were off-limits. However, most of them found other things to do, and actually got enjoyment out of doing them. One teen said he read a book, and couldn’t remember the last time he did that. He also turned in his homework on time and spent more time with friends and family. Most of the participants reported going to bed earlier, as well.
Another student, Jason Badu, who wasn’t part of the project, said he observed that the volunteers seemed “freer. It gave them a sense of getting to know their strengths and limitations. When you have your phones it’s easy to forget this. When it was taken away they had to be like modern- day explorers.”
In the end, the students said the challenge was hard, but not impossible. They realized that the relationship they have with their smartphone is more compulsive than addictive. So, by taking it away, they learned new habits and ways of interacting with the world around them.
Smartphones have their place in the world, but they shouldn’t become your whole world. As long as you can set limits on your usage and have a life outside your phone, a smartphone probably won’t hinder you much.