Screen for thought

Lessons learned from one hour a day on my phone for two days


Varsha Kanneganti, Nolan Sanders

Sidekick editorial page editor Fiona Koshy challenges herself to spend only an hour a day on her phone for two days. While difficult at times, she began to appreciate the small, everyday life occurrences that normally went unnoticed.

Fiona Koshy, Editorial Page Editor

It may seem silly, but as teenagers growing up in this day and age, we consider phones one of our ultimate necessities. As in, if we could only bring three things to a desert island, our phones would most likely be one of them (assuming there’s service).


I feel off when mine isn’t within hands reach, and I find myself checking it a lot.


While my phone has never gotten in the way of interactions and responsibilities, the time I spend on it is much more than I would like to admit.


In an effort to combat this issue, I decided that I would spend an hour total on my phone each day for two days.*


Day One: Thursday


The day started out normal. I’ve never been one to wake up with much time to peruse through my phone, so I decided not to touch it until I headed to school.


In one of my classes, the lesson ended a bit early and as if on cue, everyone took out their phones. It felt a bit weird sitting there, watching as others flipped through social media, text messages and games. With nine minutes until the bell, I decided to read a book, appreciating the extra time I had to myself.


By the end of the school day, I had only spent 20 minutes on my phone.


My after school ritual of checking social media and watching videos was replaced with petting my cats and starting homework a little earlier than usual.


While doing my homework, I realized how many frequent phone breaks I am prone to taking. Texting was kept to very short, concise answers rather than steady conversations. The occasionally study break was spent listening to music or talking to my family.

By the end of the night, I felt great. The day had felt long, but in the best way possible. It felt as though an extra hour or two had been added into my day, as I had so many more pockets of time to fill.


Day Two: Friday


The school day went about the same as Thursday, however I spent close to 30 minutes on my phone, taking up half of my allotted time before going home.


After school, it wasn’t hard to stay off my phone since my evening consisted of going to the Lariette Spaghetti Dinner and then the football game. At both events, the pressure to be on my phone was nonexistent.


Heading home later, however, I was shocked to see that I had totaled up 57 minutes on my phone throughout the day. How did I manage to spend another 27 minutes on my phone when it felt like I had hardly touched it?


Apps such as my camera and photo album (taking pics at the game), the notes page (writing down reminders) and just using my phone and messages to contact people (arrange rides) had taken up more time than I had expected.


Despite getting home late, I would have usually spent some time browsing through my phone, checking pictures from the game. With only three minutes left, however, I decided to head to bed.




Despite learning a lot about myself and my phone habits, this challenge is not realistic long term if limited to only an hour. Using my phone for its basic necessities, phone calls and text messages, already takes up a longer amount of time than I thought.


These two days, however, were extremely fun. I found myself living my actual life more than being devoured by a screen.


Typically, by the end of the week, days begin to blur together making it hard to distinguish particular moments from each other. Looking back on Thursday and Friday, however, I had so many little memories that I could pinpoint, making them all the more clearer in my mind.


As you grow older, you won’t remember the things you experienced through your phone; you will remember the memories you made, things you did and ways you have grown.


I know that from here on out, I’ll be more mindful of my phone usage. Times when I don’t have a spare minute can be spent in a million other ways than just mindlessly on my phone.


I encourage you all to try this challenge as well. Track the time spent on your phone and slowly cut it down. You may just be surprised as to how dependent you are on it.


*Being a social media manager for The Sidekick, I did not include the time I spent updating social media platforms.


Follow Fiona @fionakoshy10