Every summer I go to a Young Life Camp in which we are stripped of our cell phones for a week. Because I’ve happily lived without the constant use of a cell phone, the media fasting was not difficult at all. However, I was not very excited about the thought of a media binge. As I woke up on the first day of the media binge, I opened and scrolled through every social media app I had: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. I made sure to check these social media apps as much as I could. I checked these apps while I was walking to class, eating meals, and scrolled through these pages before going to bed. Due to the fact that I assess my days based on productivity, I felt as if I was wasting my days away reading posts I would forget no more than 15 seconds later. Aside from this self-assessment, my eyes were weary throughout the day, it took me forever to get to sleep, and I was getting multiple headaches. I realized I like to use my cell phone for productive purposes. (Contacting people, responding to messages, or posting on social media for a specific reason). To be completely honest, I didn’t care for about 99% of the content I read or saw on these social media sites. My lack of care for these posts was not my biggest concern however; it was the physical effects the media binge was having on eyes and mind. As day 2 and day 3 rolled around, my eyes felt much more tired and my mind was not as clear or sharp as usual. My mind was thinking about 100 things at once and I felt as if I was losing grasp of the control I once had. Juggler’s brain had taken its toll!
Needless to say, I was more than amped to start the media fast. My headaches began to go away, I was more focused on the tasks at hand, and I felt much more free. During the binge, I felt like a slave to social media – waiting for someone else to post content I didn’t even care for. The fast was completely opposite. In addition to this relief, it was a good time for me to reflect on why and how I am using my cell phone. Contrary to the popular belief that students are always “toying around on their phones,” I felt my days were most stress free when I was able to use my cell phone for productive reasons, not for time wasting reasons. I probably won’t do a media binge ever again. I hated it. However, this binge and fast made me realize the dramatic effects technology can cause to our daily lives.