Look Up- It may Do You Some Good

Camille+Faulkner+uses+her+phone+as+she+walks+down+the+hallway.

Camille Faulkner uses her phone as she walks down the hallway.

According to StatisticBrain.org, youth ages eight to 18 are spending an average of 44.5 hours in front of a screen per week.

Sophomore Camille Faulkner was asked to record her phone use for an entire day, then detach herself from her phone the following day to see how it felt. “My phone is like my heart. I didn’t think I could function without it,” Faulkner said.

To become aware of her daily phone use, Faulkner was asked to write down everything she did on her phone and the time, from the time she woke up to the time she went to bed.  Every few minutes, she would either check the time, text someone back or, most of all, check Tumblr or Instagram. Her actions are far from uncommon. “It surprised me more than I thought. I wasn’t aware that I used it so much for less than a minute at a time!” Faulkner said. But keeping her hands off of it for a whole day would be the real challenge.

“I gave it to Mr. Buehler during first hour and many kids were asking me why I gave him my phone. I told them it was for an experiment. They replied with ‘I could never do that!’” Faulkner said. Expecting lots of anxiety from the detachment, she was able to keep calm for the remainder of the day.

According to Faulkner, keeping busy was key. “By the time I got to ELA third hour, it had gotten easier. I was keeping busy, but I was constantly thinking about where it [her phone] is and what is happening or what I could be doing on it right then,” Faulkner said.

During computer apps class, Faulkner found herself using her computer instead of her phone to compensate. “I would use the computer to search random things as I go bored, where I would usually use my phone,” Faulkner said. “People always say they are independent, and they think they are, but in all reality, they aren’t dependent on others, but on their phones instead.”

After the experiment was over, Faulkner observed that there were some advantages to being phone-free. “I felt so much more focused on what my teachers were saying. I learned so much more,” Faulkner said.

Faulkner also noticed more outside of class.

“I observed so much more when I wasn’t walking down the hallway with my phone,” Faulkner said. “I saw two boys on their phones run right into each other and [they] didn’t even look up to apologize. It didn’t even seem to cross their mind.”

Her observations are consistent with outside movements. “Look Up,” a recent movement that hit the Internet and quickly became viral, encourages people to look up from their phones and see what goes on in the world around them. (www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7dLU6fk9QY)

When asked what the solution to the overuse of phones should be, Faulkner suggested phone baskets. During study hall, Debby Atkinson takes the student’s phones so they aren’t tempted to use them during class. If more teachers had phone baskets for their students, Faulkner believes that students’ focus would rise dramatically. “Believe it or not, human interaction might actually be a good thing,” Faulkner said.

For Faulkner, the experiment was definitely worthwhile.

“If I was asked to do this again, I would do it in a heartbeat,” Faulkner said. “It was an eye opening experience and I was glad I did it. Can I do it again tomorrow?”