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Is It Time To Break Up With Your Phone?:Writing and Healing Arts Class Tackles The Problem of Phone Addiction

by Suzie McCarthy

Photo Courtesy of NorWood Themes on Unsplash

The Writing and Healing Arts class is learning how to limit phone use and better their mental health in the process. The book “How To Break Up With Your Phone,” by Catherine Price–one of the required texts for the class–enlightens individuals about chronic phone usage and how to limit it. 

Professor Lori Jakiela, director of the Creative & Professional Writing program, and Emily Lohr, senior Creative & Professional Writing major, share the results of their two-week trial breakup from their chronic phone usage.

Today’s society is addicted to phones, but not many people even realize they have an addiction, according to both Jakiela and Lohr. The book “How To Break Up With Your Phone” brings light to what it means to be addicted and how users should limit their usage for their wellbeing. 

“The phone is super detrimental to anybody who is a creative person because you’re spending all this time that you could be engaging in the world, the real world, in this little tunnel that really is absolutely meaningless,” Jakiela says.

In the book, there’s a quiz to help identify if an individual has an addiction to phone use. Jakiela took the quiz and was surprised by her results.

“I was doing it with my students, thinking I was fine, and I actually hit almost every single question with an affirmative,” Jakiela says.  “I didn’t realize exactly how bad my problem was.” 

Lohr reflects on the role her phone plays in her life in a more accepting light. 

“Even if I’m not looking at it or being on my phone, just having it with me makes me feel more secure,” Lohr says. 

Phone algorithms are programmed to keep us scrolling. 

“It gives us this like instant gratification basically and I struggle the most with Tiktok because of the way it is set up it is supposed to be super-addicting,” Lohr says. 

Phones can be very helpful when used for necessities, but Jakiela warns, “It’s a tool that makes us a tool.” 

Lohr agrees. 

“Phones can be useful. We just have to take back control of them,” she says. “It’s all about balance. Use it when you need to use it and then be able to live your life when you’re not using it.”

There are benefits to weaning off of phone use. After weaning off her phone for two weeks, Jakiela said, “It’s been brilliant. It’s been really good, I’ve read four books in the past couple weeks. My reading was suffering.”

The book describes some useful tips on how to limit phone usage. 

“You don’t put it next to your bed at night and you don’t wake up first thing in the morning with the phone,” Jakiela says. 

Lohr also sees the benefits of limited phone usage. She says doing break-up exercises as part of her class assignments was helpful. One of the tips–putting your phone down by 6 p.m.–was particularly helpful. 

“I’m glad we did it. It shows that it can be a tool that helps you in your life but you just don’t want it to rule your life,” Lohr says. “I had the habit of being on my phone and losing track of time. Now, if I get lost on my phone, at least by 6 p.m. I have to go and do something else.”

Jakiela hopes that her phone breakup will last.

“I want to live my life, you know? I want to spend the time I have with the people that I love and have good conversations and be really present and see all the wonderful weirdness that’s in the world,” Jakiela says.
If you suspect you have an ongoing phone addiction, it may be time to take a break. Give “How To Break Up With Your Phone”  a read – or check out this summary on YouTube – and take back control over your life.

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