I originally planned to do my media binge and fast during dead week as most everybody else did. Yet, when my phone broke on April 16th I decided to capitalize on that and take my fast at that time. Having no phone from April 16th-April 19th was much easier than I thought it would be. At first, I kept tapping my pockets as they felt empty without a cell phone, but as time went on I became not only more accustom to not having to constantly check my phone, but also more relieved.
I didn’t realize how dependent I was on my phone until I didn’t have one, and actually not being able to use a phone was a blessing to me during this project because otherwise I feel I may of not been able to actually stay away from checking my notifications. April 16th wasn’t just any Saturday, but it was the spring game. My family was in town and as I was taking my phone out to take a picture of my mom and sister at Memorial stadium when I dropped it and it instantly broke. As unfortunate as this was, I had insurance on my phone and I already had my homework done for the weekend because I planned to spend it with my family, and therefore I had absolutely zero reason to use my phone, computer or any other form of technology. Getting to spend this time with my family without constantly sitting behind my phone made the visit a ton better! In fact, I got a little annoyed when we were at dinner talking and my sister pulled out her phone to text. This never used to bother me, but it suddenly did… This made me feel like an old man who always says to put away your phones at the dinner table, but now I kind of see where they are coming from. I talked to my mom about all kinds of stuff that we normally never discuss in normal conversation and it was overall a great visit because of the lack of technology.
Then I got my new phone.
Once my family left on the 18th I went to class that Monday and ordered a new phone online (some of my only technology interaction during my fast) and it was over-night shipped to my dorm. On Tuesday April 19th it arrived and that’s when I decided to begin my 3-day binge. I went all out. I hooked up my new phone and checked out all the apps and games and such. I did this while watching an episode of Criminal Minds on Netflix through my Xbox. While my phone was loading all the iCloud data that was saved on my computer I was working on an essay that was due that Thursday… All in all, I was netflixing, uploading data on my new phone and writing an essay on my computer… All at the same time. If that isn’t binging I don’t know what is. That was only day 1 and I wasn’t quite tired of it yet, but day 3 I knew pretty much every gadget possible on this phone and wasn’t interested in learning any more. I got through 10 episodes of Netflix (that’s over 3 hours a day). I found tons of new music on SoundCloud and was pretty tired of every app, website and visual screen that I had absorbed myself in during the three days of my binge.
I am glad I found the opportunity to do this media fast and binge properly, even if it meant having to get a new phone. I have always thought that the rise of technology wouldn’t hurt conversational skills and communication with others, yet I shouldn’t of had that viewpoint until I tried not using my phone; because once I stepped back from all the technological distractions I became a much more engaging person to talk to and be around. As a result of this, I have been trying to set down my phone during every meal, and talk to who I am eating with rather than with somebody I am texting or messaging.