I make a point of not blaming myself for falling into my phone for hours at a time. I try not to consider it a personal failing. Social media is a societally-mandated Skinner Box and I did not choose to have a positive physiological reaction to dopamine. I do, however, sometimes wish I did not lose so many hours to Twitter, and so long as its servers remain operational, my only option is to take matters into my own hands. That is why I got the Ksafe.
The Ksafe is a wonderful device you should maybe hope to not need to use, but which will come in handy if you do need it. Just take your temptation, throw it in the bin, and use the rotating dial on top to set yourself a lockout time from a single minute to 9 days 23 hours and 59 minutes. Once you’re done, tap the button and a five second countdown — your last chance to abort with a quick second tap — begins. After that, your goodies are locked inside for the duration, baring the extreme measure of breaking open the thick-unibody plastic case, in which case the KSafe’s documentation states that its help line will provide guidance as to how to accomplish this most effectively, but it goes without saying you don’t want to resort to this embarrassing and expensive solution if you can avoid it.
Originally designed for locking up sweets (the “K” stands for “Kitchen”), the KSafe is also great for locking up your phone, which I have gotten in the habit of doing a few times a week. (Make sure you get at least a 5.5-incher for larger phones!) The results, I’d say, are frustratingly good.
I’d expected the primary pain point would be that I’m a big whiney baby who throws a tantrum without his glow-screen. So I’ve been surprised that in fact the opposite is the case: I actually love being forcibly phoneless for an hour or two in the evenings or on the weekend. I read, I cook! Sometimes I just play Xbox! The complications so far have been fairly small and sometimes even fun: like listening to whatever was last queued up on the Sonos because, welp, all I can do is hit the on-speaker play button! Whatever I wind up doing, it’s improved by a freedom from choice — I don’t have to spend the entire time choosing not to look at my phone for an countless moments at a stretch. The choice is already made. Even if I come up with what I deem to be an acceptable excuse to renege on my commitment, tough luck buddy!
What’s frustrating is actually that I can’t go longer. I want to go 24 hours, or even a full weekend phone-free, but puzzling out the logistics has really driven home how many simpler, indispensable gadgets my phone has assimilated like a tiny little Borg cube: alarm clock, GPS, television and stereo remote, my stopwatch, MP3 player, morning newspaper, typewriter, notepad and stationary, and of course, telephone. It is no wonder I keep staring at the damn thing! The only reason I even get to look away is because I have a laptop, a tablet, and a phone-toting spouse to help me fill in the gaps. I may eventually try, but it will take some planning and probably some assistance!
The endeavor so far has left me less sure than ever that the screentime problem is something that any one app, gadget, or Rube Goldberg machine can solve for me or anyone else. But I am still in love with taking a occasional, physically-enforced vacations from cyberland. I highly recommend you take some too — if you’re lucky enough to be able.
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