The Phoneless Teenager: The Ups and Downs of Living Without a Cellphone

  |  Topic: Advice, My Story, Personal, Tech
By Toyin Williams
cellphone

As a teenager at VOX, my typical routine is to arrive, greet everyone, go downstairs to the food court to something to eat, come back up and start working. A few weeks ago, I did the same thing, but this time when I was in the food court my cellphone was stolen. I had an iPhone 7, and losing my phone was like losing a piece of my heart. So, of course, I was saddened. To make things worse, I didn’t have insurance, so I couldn’t replace it unless I paid the full $700. So, I decided to save my money toward getting a replacement, but until then, I was phoneless. The first few days were kind of hard, but eventually it got easier, and I realized that not having a phone isn’t the worst thing in the world. There may be more disadvantages than advantages, but at least there was an upside to losing my cellphone.

Let’s start with the downsides to losing my phone. The saddest part about not having a cellphone is that I couldn’t go anywhere but school, work and VOX. Usually, I never go out, but my friends threw a party the weekend I lost my phone, and I also made plans to go out with my friend. But I had to cancel because I wouldn’t be able to stay in contact with my parents.

Another downside about being phoneless was that I had no way to access my social media accounts because they all needed verification codes, which get texted to my long-gone phone. News, crazy videos, pictures and memes appear on all types of social media everyday, so I felt behind on current events. All my friends would make jokes and say “I was going to FaceTime you” or “I texted you last night,” which sort of sucked, but I got through it.

The worst part about about not having my phone was waking up late for school almost everyday. I’m a stickler for time, so waking up late is never cool. I usually had the alarm set on my phone to go off at 5 a.m. so I have plenty of time to get ready and be able to leave my house on time at 7:25 a.m. But without my phone I would always wake up at 7 a.m. and then rush and panic or basically have a mini-breakdown in my head, which made me realize that I had to stop pouting and make the best of my horrible situation, which brings me to the upsides of not having a phone.

The upsides of being phoneless: To stop having to rush every time I woke up late, I would just prepare the night before, whether it was making sure all my books were in my bag, deciding what to wear for school or even having my work uniform set up for me to wear later in the week. I’m a procrastinator, so preparing myself honestly saved me so much time during the two weeks I didn’t have my phone.

Another thing I realized is that without my cellphone, I’m actually way more aware of my surroundings. I was more focused on my school work and engaged in conversations. I often found myself looking out the window or just stopping in the middle of a walk to admire how beautiful the city of Atlanta is. It felt like I was waking up and smelling the coffee for the first time.

This may be the craziest upside to not having my phone, but for the first time in a long time I did my homework, at home. I have tried to do homework at home, but when my phone is right next to me I get distracted and end up not doing it until right before school starts.

Losing my phone also gives me something to look forward to. I’m obviously going to get it replaced, and now I have the hope of choosing a new, better phone than my old one.

The experience of not having my phone wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. In the beginning, I believed I was going to be miserable and my phoneless days would be the worst days of my life. I admit I did have my sad days wishing I had my phone; however, I got through it.

On the day I got my new phone, I wasn’t as happy as I thought I was going to be. It felt like a regular day, which made me realize I would be the same person I am today if i didn’t have my phone. With so much stuff to do in Atlanta, if every teen decided to unplug for a little while they might realize it’s not so bad to not have a phone after all.


Toyin, 16, attends Tri-Cities high school and loves the smell of freshly cut grass.

Toyin also created the art for this story. 

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