Howdy y'all! My name is Mac Mead, and it's my SENIOR YEAR BABY!!! I've been a staff member of The Knight Times for the past three years. I love the news...
No Phone Zone
A Miserable Weekend Off The Grid
May 16, 2019
This was my list of what to pack for the 2019 Youth And Government trip to Harrisburg. And yet, I forgot to bring one of the seemingly most important items- my cell phone. That’s right. I, a teenage girl with a social media addiction, somehow forgot to grab my phone on the way out of the door.
Everytime I explained to someone that I was an idiot and didn’t have a cell phone for the weekend, their immediate response was “I could not survive! How are you doing it? You’re so brave, LOL!”
I need to start this off with a disclaimer- I was highkey miserable for the first half of my trip. I missed my phone immensely and almost cried at the thought of losing my two year Timehop streak. Please don’t get the idea that I think I’m better than you or that I had a perfect, phone free weekend. That is not the case.
Day one was the worst. Not only had I not come to terms with my new reality yet, I also had to endure a four hour bus ride without anything to entertain myself. I didn’t even have a book to read or notebook to draw in. I made a half decent attempt at genuine conversation, but everyone around me just wanted to listen to music or talk about weird, emo stories. I almost Safe2Sayed myself, if you know what I mean.
But, by the time day two came around, I had a major realization.
Warning: I’m about to go on a major rant that is gonna make me sound like a hippie wannabe, but that is just what happens when you’re forced to disconnect.
We’re all way too attached to our phones. I know- shocker. Our generation, raised on iPods, Nintendo DSs, and Gameboys, is too addicted to modern technology. But, hear me out.
All weekend, I was limited on what I could and could not do. Without a phone, I couldn’t: update any of the YAG social media accounts, get ahold of my family, keep up to date on what was happening within the Knoch delegation, go anywhere on my own, or even log into my personal Google account (btw how ridiculous is that- you can’t even log into Google on a new computer without verifying via your cell phone!!!).
The worst part? I had nothing to occupy myself with. You can only pretend to be reading a schedule or looking at a camera for so long. Whenever I had freetime- which was pretty much all the time- everyone around me would immediately get on their phone. I don’t blame them- if I had my phone on me, I would have done the same thing. Without an option of playing on my phone, I just sat there and stared at thewall.
I got into the habit of involving myself in every conversation I could, you know, for entertainment purposes. At one point, I had a full conversation about High School basketball and sucky coaches, which I know absolutely nothing about.
Everything got better around day two, after I learned to accept that I didn’t have my phone and there was nothing I could do about it. Now, I’m kinda glad that I took a break from technology for a couple days. It taught me a lot about myself, and forced me to stop and pay attention to my surroundings.
Without my phone, I pushed myself to make friends like I never had before. Not only did I meet some really cool kids from all over Pennsylvania, I also befriended a bunch of Knoch’s underclassmen. This lead to a discovery that not all freshmen are weird and annoying. Shockingly, some freshmen are actually okay.
Don’t get me wrong- if I had any way of time travelling through the quantum realm and making sure I took my phone that weekend, I 100% would. I think having my phone would have made the trip a million times better, especially since I did have so much freetime.
You see, I was a part of the press branch of Youth and Government, among 79 other press kids. There weren’t always tasks for me to do, and I didn’t have any strict rules that the other branches had to follow. I could pretty much go wherever and do whatever I wanted to. I had an insane amount of freedom, especially considering we were inside the capitol building.
In conclusion: being phone free was simultaneously a great time and a terrible experience. It had it’s pros and cons. In the end, I don’t understand quantum mechanics, so I can’t change it. Oh well, maybe next time I’ll be less of an idiot.
Let’s Learn Some Stats
*91 percent of teens go online from a mobile device, at least occasionally
*89% of teens use social media
*More than half of teens (54%) say they spend too much time on their cellphones, 41% say they overdo it on social media.
*The average American spends more than 3 hours on a smartphone per day