Blog entry #4

I used the Screen Time feature, which can be accessed through iPhone settings, to track smartphone usage. This worked very well for me and was easy. I was a little shocked when I saw the weekly results. As I mentioned earlier, I use my cell phone a lot, so I knew the numbers would be high, but they were higher than I expected. In terms of minutes each week, I spend about the same amount of time on my phone each week, which is about 4200 minutes, or 70 hours. This number seems very high and alarming. Every week was pretty much the same, with a few exceptions. I can't say I'm happy with my results, but I wish a lot of the numbers were lower. I wish I didn't spend so much time on my phone, especially on certain apps. I think it will be very interesting to continue tracking this usage over the summer to see how dramatically it changes or not.

Blog entry #5

We selected these three strategies from our article on a 12-step plan to reduce smartphone usage.

Tactic 1: Turn off your cell phone.

This may seem like a pretty obvious way to reduce your smartphone usage, but it's harder than you think. I chose this tactic because I thought it was the most logical and easiest to implement in the long run. This strategy simply turns off your phone in the middle of the night to avoid checking your phone every few minutes. My experience with this tactic was positive, although it was difficult at first, it ended up being very helpful in the long run. I completely turned off my phone at night, which helped me fall asleep faster and get enough sleep each night.

Tactic #2: Turn off notifications.

This strategy worked wonders for me. I didn't realize how often I was using my phone when I saw notifications pop up. When I analyzed my smartphone usage for one week, I received about 400 notifications. So, by turning off notifications, I was able to avoid stress and tension while waiting for notifications. However, the downside to this method is that it can leave you feeling anxious and wondering what's going on with your phone. I wonder if my mom is texting me, or if someone is texting me something important. I didn't enjoy turning off notifications on a daily basis because I thought it was dangerous and scary, but I found it very useful during homework and class. It allows me to focus much more on what I'm doing and no longer glance at my phone.

Tactic 3: Meditate.

I didn't necessarily meditate for this strategy, but I started exercising more and going to yoga and Pilates classes with friends in college. I realized that this time is when I can really focus on my body and the people around me. These classes were very relaxing and refreshing. We are not allowed to turn on cell phones in this class, so we had time to turn them off. This saved me a lot of stress about what was going on with my phone. Especially since I knew no one else in the class was using their phones.

Blog entry #6

The entry task was to experiment by leaving my phone at home all day. I didn't enjoy the experience and couldn't last the entire day. I'm a person who uses my cell phone a lot and I live with my girlfriend's four other girls. That's why it's so important to always have your phone with you. I think it was a very interesting experiment, but I think it was also quite stressful. This experiment was much more difficult than I expected. I was able to leave my phone in my apartment for more than half the day without it, but later in the day I would get depressed and pick up my phone. My family lives in Maryland, 8 hours away from hers, so if I don't keep my phone handy in case something happens, I'm afraid my family will text her. I always get worried. After leaving my phone in my apartment for half a day, I returned to my apartment and was surprised to find that there was nothing very important on my phone. No super important texts or notifications. Because I didn't have a cell phone, I found myself paying more attention to the people and nature around me when I was going to and from class. In this respect, I felt that this experiment was a success. I don't think I'll be doing this all day long, but I definitely won't be bringing my cell phone to class every day.

Blog entry #7

During this mindfulness exercise, I realized that it was both peaceful and stressful at the same time. When I first started doing this exercise, I relaxed, focused on my breathing, and thought less about my phone. But as the exercise progressed and my thumb hovered over my phone, notifications started popping up and I couldn't help but click on them. These notifications made it very difficult to constantly calm my mind and focus on relaxing and breathing. I have meditated and meditated before and was able to focus on my breathing and keep a clear mind during those exercises, but much less when my phone is in front of me. It was difficult.

Blog entry #8

This is a photo tracking my smartphone usage over the course of the semester. I tracked it in Excel and used my phone's Screen Time feature to capture this information. As I've said many times before, I'm addicted to my smartphone, but this number still shocked me. My numbers stayed in the same range week after week for the most part. There were no major spikes or changes during this time. There have been a few times when my numbers have gone down and that was when I was at home instead of at school. When I'm at home, I use my cell phone much less. Therefore, usage conditions may vary slightly. I was especially surprised when I converted the total usage time from hours to minutes. I was shocked because when I looked at the minutes, the numbers got bigger and it seemed like a really long time. I followed suit and tracked categories like Entertainment, Productivity, Social, and Creativity. My creativity and entertainment category was top notch every week. The entertainment category is apps like TikTok and Spotify, while the creativity category is Snapchat and Instagram. I spend the most time on Snapchat and Tik Tok, so I can see why these categories are so high. Looking at this number, I would like to lower it further. You don't need to use these apps as often or for long periods of time. To do this, you can set limits on your phone for how long you can use the app during the day.

The graph above shows the number of pickups over the past few weeks. As you can see, the number of weekly pickups remained relatively similar, roughly in the low 1,000s. When I took the forced smartphone check in blog entry #1, I was asked if I often pick up my phone to check it, even when I know there's nothing important. I answered yes to this question, but this graph shows I'm telling the truth. Even if you know you won't receive a notification, you may find yourself picking up your phone frequently. It's a habit; we pick up our phones when we're bored or doing something we don't enjoy. I've been trying to work on this over the past few weeks, only picking up my phone when I know I need something. I would like to lower this number and break this habit.

The graph above shows my notifications over the past few weeks. I get a lot of notifications on my phone because I have a lot of apps installed and I have notifications enabled all the time. Notifications are sent by other people and apps, so I don't necessarily think that my notifications are an indicator of how often I use my phone. But it was very interesting to see and observe the changes from week to week. Some weeks, if I was super busy that week or stayed home, I would get fewer notifications. Unlike the other categories, my notifications had dramatic changes and weren't always the same every week. Within a few weeks, the number of notifications increased. I think this is because I am constantly downloading new apps, which causes more notifications.

Overall, tracking all the data over the past few weeks has been very interesting and I've learned a lot about myself and my smartphone usage habits. I learned a lot of habits that I want to break and some areas that I need to improve on. I was able to learn new strategies and ways to reduce my usage without using my phone.

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