Emerging from lockdown: "massively, perhaps too much so, reliant on my mobile phone"

Sussex student Jenny Bathurst is hoping to study journalism at the University of Brighton (Eastbourne campus).

Jenny Bathurst
Jenny Bathurst

The coronavirus crisis has robbed her of the chance to sit A levels. We have asked Jenny to share her thoughts on the difficult times we are living through... Here is her latest contribution.

"Monday mornings, since Apple introduced the Screen Time feature on their devices, have become a source of unwanted irritation for me, in which I am absolutely mortified at the notification that appears on my phone every week. This feature informs you on average how many hours a day you spend on your tablet or mobile and on which apps. Of course these figures can be highly useful to determine how you spend your day and whether your habits are perhaps getting out of hand, but in equal measure they are also rather alarming, for me at least. I’m too embarrassed to disclose even roughly how many hours a day I spend staring at my phone with its predominantly inconsequential apps, and every Monday I find it almost laughable that somehow that block of metal can provide me with infinite entertainment.

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"Even before lockdown began I often marvel at how, (those of the older generation I give you permission to humour me), individuals managed without digital technology. I most certainly wouldn’t have passed my maths GCSE if it wasn’t for the online tutorials on how to solve certain equations or figure out complicated problems and the ability to quickly take notes, message friends and purchase items with a swipe and a tap has almost become a part of me. I’m sure many can relate to the panic of a broken or misplaced phone, where it feels as if you have lost what in material terms would be stacks of photo albums, countless letters to and from loved ones, and an address book containing the handwritten contact details of everybody who means something to you. Over lockdown I have been massively, perhaps too much so, reliant on my mobile phone. With it I can fill hours, and although there are the obvious precautions of the impact on maybe your eyesight or even your mental health I believe that for me, spending time on it is something I enjoy and would honestly feel worse off for not having. But being conscious of how it influences me and the amount of time I am investing in it has been a factor that lockdown has brought to my attention.

"I have spoken a lot in these articles about the significance of utilising the time we have to benefit us personally, whether that’s through keeping active or taking a well-deserved break. The figure that appears on my phone on those Monday mornings doesn’t reflect a usage that I know is healthy for me, but for others it may be considered a reasonable figure or even a necessity if it correlates with their job or education. Because of this I have become determined to lower those statistics to the best of my abilities, which has started with even the most minute of changes. Something that particularly stood out to me was my tendency to scroll through my phone when brushing my teeth, not even being able to spend two minutes without the comfort of a screen to keep me company. Perhaps it is a quirk of this generation to need to stay occupied and entertained at all times, but I hope that altering my perception of the device that I am far too reliant on will equip me with the ability to slow down and notice that past generations have survived perfectly without it, so I can certainly try to do the same!"

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