Technology Mindfulness Project

12 min readApr 28, 2024

About Section

My name is Kendall Newton, and I am a Sophomore at Coastal Carolina University with a major in recreation and sport management and a minor in social media. I am doing this technology mindfulness project not only for a grade but also to explore my consumption of technology on a weekly basis. After analyzing multiple readings and videos in this class I am concerned with the amount of time I spend on my phone. I do think I could have an addiction to my phone and certain apps. This project will help me dive deeper into this hypothesis and really examine how I am spending time on my phone. Especially with my minor being social media I am very interested to see how much I know about social media and technology so far. I use my smartphone every single, the first thing that I do in the morning is check my phone and it is also the last thing I do before bed. This is a habit I would like to fix, and this project can help me do so.

Blog Entry #1

For this blog entry, I had to take the Smartphone compulsion test. This quick test had 15 questions and asked me questions about how I used my smartphone. I found myself answering “yes” to every question, which is quite concerning. I am very aware that I use my smartphone too much and rely on it for everything. Here is an example of one of the questions I answered yes to, “Do you find yourself mindlessly checking your cell or smartphone many times a day, even when you know there is likely nothing new or important to see?”. I selected yes to answer this question because I am frequently checking my phone throughout the day even when I know that I do not have anything important to see. This is a bad habit that I would like to break. I should not have to check my phone every few minutes if I know there is nothing important going on. Another question that was asked was, “Do you find yourself viewing and answering texts, tweets, and emails at all hours of the day and night — even when it means interrupting other things you are doing?”. I also selected Yes to answer this question. I am constantly going on my phone when I have more important things to do. My phone interrupts me all the time and I let it. This is something that I have noticed, and have been working on, when I do homework, I turn my phone on Do Not Disturb and put it away, so I am free of distractions. A lot of the other questions are very similar to these, and I answered yes to all of them. I am addicted to my smartphone, and I need to work on fixing it. This test helped me realize even more how disruptive my phone is to my everyday life.

Blog Entry #2

I use my phone very often in my day-to-day life. As I mentioned before, I use my phone when I wake up, I use my phone throughout the day, and I use my phone at night. I primarily use my smartphone to text my friends/family and for social media. Any sort of school I do is done on my computer. My job that I also have requires me to use my phone all day. I am a dog walker, and a part of my job is to take photos of the dogs I am walking, log down information about their walk, and text their owner and update them. With just, my job alone, in one day I am sending 30 texts. I am on social media constantly on my phone. Especially the app Tik Tok, this is a very popular app and I have found myself to become addicted to it. I click on this app probably 50 times a day just to scroll and watch videos when I am bored. On average I probably spend around 12 hours on my phone each day, this is a rough guess. This amount of time depends on how busy I am that day or what time of the year it is. I believe that I am on my phone less during the summer. During the summer I am more busy during the days doing stuff with my friends and family. However, during the school year, I am trying to kill time by being on my phone or to kill boredom. I tend to get a lot of notifications every day on my phone so I would estimate that I check on my phone around close to 100 times per day possibly.

Blog Entry #3

My favorite apps to use on my phone are Snapchat, TikTok, and Facebook, not in any order. Snapchat I just use to send pictures to friends and to text friends, I am not on it for long periods of time, but I am on it often. TikTok I am on all the time, I use this app all day long and I am on it for extended periods of time. I find this app to be very entertaining and I like to be on it when I am bored or need to fill time. I also really like the app Facebook, I know this is not as common for people my age, however, I love it. I like Facebook a lot because it is more of my family on Facebook and I can see what they are up to. I enjoy Facebook a lot more than I do Instagram. I find myself on Facebook multiple times per day, liking posts and making posts. Another app I use a lot is called “Time to Pet”. This is the app that I use for work, I use it to send updates to the dog owners and to look at my schedule for work. When I am home for summer, I am on this app for multiple hours every day that I am working. I also use the Gmail app pretty often, I am always checking my Gmail to see if my package has arrived, my teacher has emailed me, or a lot more. I do find myself on this app a lot more during the school year than I am during the summer. The way that my apps are organized on my home page never tends to change, I like to keep all of my apps in the same spot. I have memorized where my apps are on my home screen, and I can click on them without looking at my phone. I have a few app pages on my phone but only the first two are important to me.

Blog Entry #4

The track my smartphone usage I used the screen time feature on my iPhone that you can access in settings. This worked pretty well for me and was straightforward. I was a little shocked when I saw the results for every week. I knew my numbers were going to be high because I do use my phone a lot as I have mentioned, but they were higher than I imagined. In minutes every week, I spent around the same time on my phone every week which was around 4200 minutes which is 70 hours. This number seems very high and alarming. It was relatively the same every week with a few exceptions. I would not say that I am satisfied with my results I would love for a lot of my numbers to be a lot smaller. I wish I did not spend as much time on my phone and especially on certain apps. I think it would be very interesting if I were to keep tracking this usage during the summer to see how dramatically it would change or not.

Blog Entry #5

From the article with the 12-step plan to mitigate smartphone usage, I chose these three tactics below:

Tactic #1: Turn your phone off.

This might seem like a super obvious way to lessen your smartphone usage however it is harder than you would think. I chose this tactic because I figured it would be the most logical and easiest to do for a long time. This tactic is to just turn your phone off late at night to avoid checking your phone every few minutes. My experience with this tactic was positive, although it was difficult for me at first it ended up being very useful in the long run. I would completely shut my phone off at night time, this helped me fall asleep faster and get a good amount of sleep every night.

Tactic #2: Turn off notifications.

This tactic did wonders for me, I did not realize how often I was just on my phone because I saw a notification pop up. When analyzing my smartphone usage in one week I was getting around 400 notifications. So, by turning my notifications off I was able to not be so stressed and tense waiting for a notification. However, the downside to this method was that it made me worry and wonder what was going on in my phone. I would wonder if my mom was texting me or if anyone was texting me anything important. I think it can be dangerous and scary to turn notifications off and I did not enjoy doing it on a daily basis, however, I did find it to be very useful when doing homework or in class. It kept me a lot more focused on the work I was doing, and I did not even glance at my phone.

Tactic #3: Meditate.

I did not necessarily meditate for this tactic but I did start working out more and going to yoga and Pilates classes at the university with my friends. I found that this was a time I could really focus on my body and the people around me. These classes were very relaxing and refreshing. You cannot have your phones on in this class so it gave me time to unplug. This helped me alleviate a lot of stress about what’s going on with my phone, especially because I knew that nobody else in the class was on their phone either.

Blog Entry #6

This entry task was to try and experiment with leaving your phone at home for an entire day. I did not enjoy this experience and I was not able to last the entire day. I am someone who is on my phone a lot and I live with four other girls so it is very important that I always have my phone on me. I think this was a very interesting experiment however I do think it caused me a lot of stress. This experiment was a lot harder than I thought it would be. I was able to leave my phone at my apartment without having it for more than half of the day, but after the second half of the day, I caved and got on my phone. With my family living 8 hours away in Maryland, it always leaves me worrisome if I do not have my phone on me just in case anything were to happen and I would receive a text from them. After my half day of leaving my phone at my apartment, I was surprised to not find anything super important on my phone when I got back to my apartment. No super important texts or notifications. I did notice that when walking to and leaving classes since I did not have my phone, I was paying a lot more attention to the people and nature around me. In this aspect, I did find the experiment to be successful. I do not think this is anything I would ever do again for an entire day, but I would definitely be open to not taking my phone every day to my classes.

Blog Entry #7

During this mindfulness exercise, I found it to be both peaceful and stressful. When I first started this exercise, I was relaxed and focusing on my breathing and able to not really think about my phone much. But as the exercise went on and my thumb was hovering over my phone, I was getting notifications popping up and it was hard to not click on them. These notifications always made it very hard to have a calm mind and focus on relaxing and breathing. I have meditated before and done you before and I was able to focus on my breathing during those exercises and have a clear mind, however, when my phone was right in front of me it was a lot harder.

Blog Entry #8

This is a photo of how I tracked my smartphone usage throughout the semester. I tracked it in Excel, and I used my phone’s Screen time feature to get this information. As I have mentioned multiple times previously, I am addicted to my smartphone, however, these numbers still shocked me. My numbers for the most part stayed in the same range every week. There were no huge spikes and changes throughout this time. There are a few times where my numbers drop and that is when I was home and not at school. When I am home, I am on my phone a lot less and that is why there is sometimes a slight change in usage. Especially when converting my total usage time from hours to minutes I was surprised. Seeing it in minutes makes the number a lot bigger and makes it seem like a lot longer of time, so this shocked me. I followed the example and tracked my categories by, entertainment, productivity, social, creativity, and others. My creativity and entertainment categories were the highest every single week. The entertainment category is apps like TikTok and Spotify and creativity is Snapchat and Instagram. This makes sense why these categories are so high because I spend the most time on Snapchat and Tik Tok. Looking at these numbers I would like to lower them a lot. I do not need to be on these apps that often and for that long. To do this I could set limits on my phone for how long I can be on an app during the day.

The chart above shows the number of pickups during these few weeks. As you can see for the most part my number of pickups every week stayed relatively similar around the higher 1,000’s. During blog entry #1 when I took the smartphone compulsion test, I was asked if I pick up my phone a lot to check it even though I know there is nothing important. I answered yes to this question and this chart shows that I was telling the truth. I find myself picking my phone up constantly even if I know there are no notifications. This is out of habit, I pick my phone up when I am bored or when I am doing something I don’t enjoy. I have been trying to work on this problem these past few weeks and trying to only pick my phone up when I know there is something I need on it. I would love to lower these numbers and break this habit.

The chart above shows my notifications throughout the past few weeks. I get a lot of notifications on my phone because I have a lot of apps and I always allow notifications. I do not necessarily think that my notifications are a measure of how often I am on my phone because notifications are sent by other people/apps. However, it was very interesting to see and watch change every week. Some weeks I got fewer notifications if I was super busy that week or at home. My notifications unlike my other categories did have some dramatic changes and were not always the same every week. Over a few weeks, my notifications grew higher. I think this is because I am always downloading new apps, and this leads to more notifications.

Overall, tracking all of this data for the past few weeks has been very interesting and I have learned a lot about myself and, my smartphone usage habits. I learned a lot of habits that I want to break, and I have learned some areas where I need to improve. I have been able to learn new strategies and methods to stay off my phone and lower my usage.