Sacrificing Smart(phone) for Smarter
Calvin Imperio, a third-year pre-physical therapy major at Andrews University, decided to take a break from his smartphone—for an entire year. The slim, convenient, dearly-beloved device got a rest over the span of a school year because Imperio decided that he needed to focus on his studies.
The temporary breakup began near the end of summer, 2016, and Imperio switched from an iPhone to a LG Cosmos. He took a bold step that many young people would not be willing to take. Even though he had to rely on a “dumb phone,” Imperio made a switch to a smart direction for his health and social life.
According to health specialists, taking a break from your smartphone contributes to stronger mental health and better overall well-being. Smartphones conveniently provide many resources including various applications for communication, fun and challenging games, books, music, videos and so much more. However, having such easy access to this concentrated variety of activity does cause individuals to cut down on face-to-face social interactions, limit independent mental functions and disrupt healthy habits such as proper sleep.
Taking a break from the smartphone is heavily advised to avoid becoming addicted or even controlled by technology. These healthy and social benefits were not Imperio’s motivations to begin his new experience but surely became a side-effect of his smartphone sabbatical. While recognizing the negative effects of constant smartphone use, Imperio’s experience wasn’t always a sweet relief.
Imperio expressed honesty about the break. He decided not to use his smartphone in order to focus more on schoolwork, but he realized that he still procrastinated on his assignments. Time away from his iPhone did not really change his work ethic.
Imperio said, “I quickly realized that it did not have much of an impact on my study habits.” With a “dumb” phone, Imperio had less of a tendency to check his device, missing some texts and calls. Not having Snapchat or Facebook Messenger also contributed to difficulty in keeping in touch with others. Imperio felt a sense of disconnect socially since almost everyone uses a smartphone.
But Imperio’s hardships didn’t negate the benefits he found.
He said, “I think that something I took out of this experience was just how often we look to our phones instead of the people around us. It’s easy to fill silence with more silence when you have a smartphone to look at. But when you don’t have one, you learn to actually communicate.”
Imperio reinforces the fact that smartphones are extremely helpful in modern society but he encourages others to give the challenge a try. In his opinion, giving up his smartphone was not only worth it, but eye opening as well. Give your iPhone a rest in social spaces and step outside your comfort zone!