I’m not sure about other families, but in my family there are four of us who have iPhones and are constantly using data. We have a monthly limit to the amount of data we are allowed to use, and once we go over AT&T generously gives us one more gig-for $15. Every time we use the one gig another one gets added. For another $15. You can probably see where I am going with this. There is the potential to lose a lot of money for the sake of having internet.
To put a stop to the spending my dad shuts off our data. Outside of our house, or any other place that has free, accessible Wi-Fi, we can’t do anything on our phones that involves internet. This means no texting, no Instagram, no Twitter, and no Snapchat. It’s basically a teenagers nightmare.
This past week the Kirssin family once again went over our data for the month of June. The difference this time was instead of hiding out in my room where I have Wi-Fi and can connect to the outside world, I was out in rural Illinois, with my grandfather. He doesn’t have Wi-Fi at his house, except for the hotspot on his phone which he only turns on to use the internet on his computer. This didn’t really help my situation. I was going be disconnected from everything for the duration of the vacation.
At first this was hard for me. I wanted to post pictures I had taken and text my friends. I wanted to share my vacation with the world so everyone would know what I was doing when I was doing it. But I couldn’t do these things. I had to sit in the car with no phone to play on. I had to use my phone as a camera and not as the HQ of my social life. I had to call people if I wanted to talk to them badly enough. Most teenagers would tell you I was “roughing it.”
But I loved it.
I realized that without my phone I was more engaged with what was going on around me. I had interesting conversations with my grandfather that I would have never had with my phone. At the zoo, I looked at every animal exhibit and enjoyed the sea lion show instead of looking through my phone. At lunches and dinners I was able to have meaningful conversations. In the car I passed the time by playing games with my siblings. When I called my mom and dad I shared more about the trip because I didn’t want the phone call to be short and pointless. I enjoyed my vacation so much more because I was present during it.