Check your screen time on your phone for the last week. Download the app Unpluq (black and yellow logo) and make an account. It will ask questions about your schedule, phone usage, as well as a choice to pick two apps to put blocks on. Choose the two social media apps that you use most (for example mine is instagram and tik tok so I chose those). Choose the time you regularly/usually go to bed during the week and block those apps one hour before that. This will prevent you from going on your social media apps as much right before you sleep as well as right when you wake up. Give yourself an hour/30 minutes before checking your phone when you wake up as well as when you go to sleep. Also, change your phone to black and white. Since everything on your phone has certain colors to catch your attention, making them black and white will make it less likely for you to click on something and get distracted with it. This should prevent screen time with high usage. You can find how to do this in your phone’s settings. With these changes your screen time should be down from the previous and you should notice a lot of changes with how you spend your time. While you catch yourself in a moment like this, write down on a piece of paper or in your notes about some new things you accomplished or did as a result of not being on your phone. At the end of the week, check your screen time and compare it to what it was last week. Hopefully it went down and hopefully you realize how toxic and unhealthy social media is and how long you spend on it.
For this intervention, I wanted to intervene in people’s daily lives and how they regularly use their phones and social media. I got inspiration from Chris Burden who was willing to put his health on the line in order to create his artwork. I decided I wanted my intervention to be something drastic like how Chris Burden did his work so I decided to hit our generation in its weak spot, taking away our social media. Of course, it was not nearly as physically dangerous as Chris Burden’s work but it was still mentally difficult to stay disciplined. So, I got a group of 6 people (roommates and suitemates) and gave them the above information. I encourage everyone reading to partake as well. They decided to do this for the week and see how it impacted their screen time as well as their day to day lives. I got tremendous feedback from my friends and they said it was an eye opening experience. All of their screen times went down by at least two hours, some even more. One of my friends decided to go rock climbing at the local gym in Fenway since he was not on his phone all day. Another one of my friends enrolled in a spikeball tournament and won with another one of my friends. They all found better alternatives in their lives rather than being glued to their screen all day. They also said their sleep schedule improved after a rough first few days since they were not used to going to sleep without their phone. Once they got over the first few days, it was easy to fall asleep since they accomplished a lot more throughout the day and were tired from it.