No phones allowed

No phone-zone. Photo from Creative Commons

No phone-zone. Photo from Creative Commons

Evan Skaff '18, Staff Writer

Imagine that for one weekend, the freedom to “check-in” is eliminated.  Impossible, right? That’s what I thought too, but in spite of that I decided to go to on Young Life’s Fall Weekend, a Christian-based weekend retreat. When considering whether I wanted to go on the trip, the loss of my phone was the one issue that was deterring me from going. In the end, I ended up going, and I am very happy that I made that decision.

Most high school kids have a great attachment or addiction to their cell phones. According to Pew Research Center, two thirds of Americans have smartphones, which is surprising because it seems like everyone from my generation has a cell phone. Taking a phone from a teenager or pretty much anyone in today’s society is like taking the last water bottle from a man in the desert or pulling teeth. With the increased prevalence of social media over the last ten years, most teenagers feel compelled to constantly check their social media accounts on Snapchat, Instagram or Facebook to see what other people are doing or just to keep up to date.

When everyone gets to camp (which is in Lake City, Michigan) you turn in your phone. Therefore, the rest of the weekend you are phoneless, which initially is like being food and water deprived for a week. It also forces everyone to socialize and make new friends and get to know the friends that you already had better, which is new to some people. After the first couple hours of the camp on Friday night, I got a little stressed not having my phone. The first part of the next day (Saturday), I was reaching for my phone and trying to check the time. As the day went on Saturday, I got more comfortable without my phone. When I woke up on Sunday morning it felt kind of normal not to have my phone and I became more relaxed without it.

After reflecting on my weekend experience, I think it is healthy for all of us to put away the phones more frequently and pay closer attention to our friends and family, and concentrate more on the other things we are doing. I’m willing to go again, it’s a good stress reliever every once in awhile. Are you ready to give it a try?