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Keim Time: limiting my screen time for 40 days

Brian Keim
Brian Keim talks about his experience of simply putting his phone down for a little while.

In Christian tradition, the season of Lent is a time for reflection and sacrifice as believers remember the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. While I am not as active in my faith as I once was (sorry, Mom), I still made the effort this year to make a Lenten promise, a commitment to a sacrifice throughout the period of 40 days (or 46, depending on how you count it). This time around, I promised that I would spend less than one hour on my phone per day. Was it difficult? Yes. Was it excruciating? Somewhat. Was it rewarding? Most certainly.

Truth be told, I didn’t have much faith in myself in the beginning. I was considering adjusting the terms or even outright quitting a few days in. My phone wasn’t just an outlet for entertainment, it was an actual necessity. I had to contact my friends, let my mom know I was alive, take pictures for class and so much more. How was I going to get all that done while still leaving myself time to unwind with some late-night YouTube? Well, I had my ways.

One important distinction I made early on was that I would only be limiting time spent on my phone, no other devices. That meant I could still watch shows and videos on my computer, TV or anything else that could stream. Though this seems like an easy out, it significantly changed the way I viewed the content I was consuming. Instead of quickly whipping out my phone to watch something just for the sake of stimulation, I had to put active thought into what I chose to consume. The process wasn’t intricate, but the simple action of having to take out my computer and log in brought a noticeable, if minute, barrier.

The little act of being conscious of what I was choosing to watch made a world of difference. Instead of spending my nights falling deeper and deeper into mindless YouTube rabbit holes, I was getting invested in movies and shows I had never seen before. I wasn’t consuming for the sake of consumption, I was watching for the sake of artistic experience.

Apart from finding alternate sources of entertainment, my seasonal challenge also did a lot to help my patience. If ever I felt the urge to text someone immediately, I would take a moment to consider whether or not it was a pressing need. If it was, I would contact them as soon as possible, of course. If not, I would simply wait. Some days I would go 12 hours without going on my phone, outside of checking messages that had the potential to be urgent. This sounds like a very underwhelming form of enlightenment, but I can’t stress enough that the small things really do add up.

While modern technology is by no means wholly evil or unhealthy, it is something best appreciated in moderation. By no means am I suggesting to completely shut out devices, but I do recommend limiting your use of them. Maybe some time soon I’ll try to completely shut out digital entertainment for a period of time, but for now, I’m happy with my season of self-regulation and all the good it has done for me.

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About the Contributor
Brian Keim
Brian Keim, Campus Editor
Brian Keim is the Campus Editor for The Carroll News, hailing from Medina, Ohio. He is a sophomore at John Carroll University, majoring in English with a concentration in creative writing and minoring in communications with a concentration in digital media.
Often referred to as a “person” who “exists,” Brian is also involved in the JCU Improv Troupe and Blue Streaks on the Run. In his free time he allegedly considers film-watching and book-reading to be two activities that are enjoyable as well as life-changing, if you know where to look.
To request biased film opinions, haphazard Academy Award predictions, or otherwise contact Brian Keim, he can be reached at [email protected]

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