Nothing strikes fear into the heart of a New Yorker more than being without their smartphone. You probably just felt an icy chill trickle down your spine at the mere suggestion. Rest assured, you are not alone. Pew Research Center says 64% of Americans own a smartphone, which is up from 35% in 2011. It’s no doubt that smartphones have made our lives easier. Not only is it a social device, but it pretty much enables you to do whatever the fuck you want. Banking, watching TV, ordering takeout, planning travel, learning a new language… Seriously. Anything. But at what cost?
Earlier this year, Iowa State University conducted a study to measure “nomophobia.” Huh? That’s “No Mobile Phone Phobia.” Yes, we love our smartphones so much that we are actually AFRAID to be without them. This seems wildly out of control, so I decided to put myself to the test. You know, like those times you go a month without alcohol just to make sure you are not actually, in fact, an alcoholic. So I did the dreaded deed. I powered down my iPhone for an entire week to see if my world would crumble around me or if I would be roaming the back alleys, crawling out of my skin looking for just a hit of Wi-Fi signal. Spoiler alert: neither of those things happened. Shockingly, the world continued to turn. And I became a slightly better person for it. Here are the biggest takeaways from my week with the three-dimensional world.