As of late, I have been glued to my phone. From social media to online shopping, I have created an unhealthy, co-dependent relationship with my hand-held friend. During a quarantine-safe hangout, I noticed that my friend’s phone was completely in black and white. Upon questioning her, she told me it helps reduce her screen time. That was exactly what I needed. I’ve done digital detoxes before but had never heard of this method. So I, too, set my phone to the gray scale mode and tried it for a week.
Going into it, my screen time was an embarrassingly high six hours per day (mostly due to TikTok). I wanted to cut that down to by at least half. Immediately, the usual vibrant assortment of apps and red notifications were replaced by dull shades of gray. Texting and calling still felt somewhat normal, but when I scrolled through apps that were mostly visuals or tried shopping online, I felt the difference. It seemed ridiculous to try and shop in black and white or look at everyone’s pictures without saturation. Once I realized that there was no point in trying to go on these apps and sites with a black-and-white screen, I got the hang of avoiding them when I picked up my phone.
For the rest of the week, I noticed that the apps I was using the most were for contacting people (iMessage and phone) and utilities (such as the calculator or clock). All the other downloaded apps for shopping, games and social media were collecting dust on the shelves. By the end of the week, I had cut my screen time down to about two hours per day. I had exceeded my goal!
Overall, I was pleased with how the gray scale mode helped me detach from my phone. I especially got a break from the apps that usually consumed a lot of my energy. Because of this, I had so much more time to read, get ahead on schoolwork and anything else that doesn’t involve my face in a screen. While I’m not always going to keep my phone this way, it can come in handy to help balance out my time. I’ll definitely be using the gray scale feature again to prevent any unnecessary app addictions in the future!