In the “Crazy Cleanses” series, Octagon staffers attempt to live for a week without an aspect of modern life, such as technology or animal products.

In the second installment, freshman Dylan Margolis shuts off all screens for one week. 

In the modern age, smartphones and computers are all the rage, and it seems teenagers (myself included) can’t keep our hands off them. I took it upon myself to see how hard it’d be to live tech-free for a whole school week.

I started the no-tech challenge on Dec. 17, and I thought it was going to be pretty easy.

I got my phone a mere five months before, in August, so I thought I wouldn’t be very attached to it. After all, I haven’t had a phone for most of my life, so it’d be a cinch living without it, right? Wrong.

One of the hardest things was not texting my friends because I am in a group chat in which we discuss homework and help each other when we are stuck. It felt as though I was forgetting to do something — checking if anyone needed help or asking for help was a part of my routine.

My computer was a whole other problem. I use my computer for about an hour almost every day doing homework. Without it, life was simply harder. I had to take handwritten notes and get printed handouts from friends or teachers. Also, I couldn’t check CavNet if I forgot whether I had homework in a class.

I realized not only I am dependent on technology, but everyone else is too. For example, virtually every day during my free period, everyone was using some form of technology.

Also, in history teacher Sue Nellis’ freshman World History, we use our computers to access handouts and take notes. Without my computer, that class was frustrating.

The frustration didn’t stay within the classroom, though. Even when I was home and not doing homework, I got bored pretty fast because I am so used to watching TV or playing video games on my phone or Nintendo Switch.    

Despite the temporary annoyance, the challenge offered some benefits. For one, I started reading a book, something I usually think I don’t have enough time for. I enjoyed it immensely, so I am reading more often and have already started reading a new book (“The Shining”). This challenge also allowed me to take a deeper look at life, which is impossible when all you do is stare at a screen.

Overall, going tech-free for a week was worth it. I have started to reduce my dependence on technology by trying to spend less time using my phone and spending more time reading.

—By Dylan Margolis

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