Ditching The Smartphones: ‘It’s Really Refreshing And Relaxing

College Students Say Ditching Their Smartphones For A Week Changed Their Lives

It’s old school in Jacob Dannenberg’s dorm room – with an alarm clock to wake him.

Handwritten notes remind him of an actual wristwatch to keep track of time…

No it wasn’t 1999, it was an Adelphi University course called “Life Unplugged.” where students did the unthinkable one week ago – handed over their smartphones.

“I’m freaking out, I could probably cry right now,” one student said.

It was a bold experiment to recognize today’s compulsive relationships with ever present devices.

Seven days later, “who’s excited they’re getting their phones back today?” Professor Donna Freitas asked.

Gone were the nerves and the shakes.

“Everything is perfect right now. I’m having a lot better relationships… it’s a stress free environment no pressure about social media,” Jacob Dannenberg said.

“I think it’s really refreshing and relaxing… I was able to fall asleep a lot easier,” student Adrianna Cigliano.

They managed to find their way, even without GPS for a week.

“I just had to take the same route everywhere,” one student joked.

They were also more productive.

“Doing homework was 100 percent easier. I got it done faster, I was in the zone,” Cigliano said.

Prof. Freitas says it’s important for everyone to assess their addiction.

“Are the conveniences worth it because the drawback are pretty significant,” Freitas said.

Adelphi University Prof. Donna Freitas and her class. (Credit: CBS2)

“The face that no one can focus, that my students can’t sleep… They feel bad about themselves because of social media, the list goes on and on.”

The sweet reunions went sour quickly as endless notifications piled up.

“Oh my God this is so bad!… I just want to shut it off now!” the Adelphi class said.

Students say they’re not quite breaking up with their phones, but promise the relationship will change.

“I want to keep that balance and figure out the healthy relationship that we deserve to have with our phones,” Cigliano added.

“My screen time is definitely going to go down and I’m going start to appreciate my surroundings more because usually I’m looking at my screen all the time,” Ashley Castillero said.

Students told CBS2 they look forward to living more in the moment, with their heads up more often, notifications off, and the “do not disturb” on.

Students were allowed to use a desktop computer or laptop during the experiment. They also made emergency communication plans with family.

Written by Carolyn Gusoff for CBS New York ~ November 14, 2019

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