extremely online

Turn Off Your Damn Screen Time Report

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I’ve gotten really into the 2006 CBS drama Jericho in the last three weeks. It’s so mediocre, it’s almost good and stars Skeet Ulrich as a rebel with a cause protecting his small hometown in a post-apocalyptic Kansas after a series of nuclear attacks leave the United States in fragments. Everybody is in wide-leg jeans. The acting is fine. The plot is so early-aughts, it hurts; rampant post-9/11 patriotism abounds. The thing I like most about it, though, is that it doesn’t take much brainpower to watch. Which means I can binge four episodes and fully absorb the plot without releasing the death grip I’ve been keeping on my phone.

My brain’s response to these increasingly weird weeks has been to plug myself in even more than I already was during the before times. Is this healthy? Honestly, I don’t really care. It’s how I’m dealing: mainlining push alerts and recaps of Cuomo briefings and endless Twitter threads in an attempt to calm my anxiety by staying as informed as I possibly can.

When I’m not doing that, I’m still largely passing the time on my phone. Reading different endless Twitter threads. Perusing gossip threads on Reddit. A rabbithole of Jojo Siwa videos on YouTube, the raspy voice of a 60-something chain-smoker in the body of a blonde teenage girl decked in glitter slowly smoothing my brain into oblivion. Watching celebrities doing embarrassing things from their homes on livestreams and tapping through hundreds of stories from friends who have all apparently decided to pivot wholly to becoming bakers. This weekend, I joined them in this endeavor, chronicling the process on Instagram as I baked my first-ever loaf of bread.

All of this has, as my phone so rudely reminded me Sunday morning, translated to an increase in screen time each week. If you also have an iPhone, you’ve likely also gotten the weekly report from your device, popping up to say, heeeeey buddy … you’re averaging five hours a day on Twitter and seven on Instagram. You doing okay? No, iPhone, I am not.

On a normal week, one where leaving your apartment was a thing you did regularly, you might look at that notification and think maybe next week I’ll try to spend a little more time off my phone. A valid and respectable goal, but one I want you to know you can scrap entirely in the immediate. Who needs to know how much time they’re spending on their phone right now? Nobody — least of all you.

Settings → Screen Time → Turn Off Screen Time. Jericho awaits.

Turn Off Your Damn Screen Time Report