Watch CBS News

'Life Unplugged': College Professor Making Students Give Up Smartphones For A Week To Test Addiction

GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A bold experiment at a university on Long Island has students buying old school alarm clocks.

That's because they're giving up their smartphones for an entire week!

Why? CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff reports it's part of a course in technology addiction.

How often do you check your cellphone?

Smartphone compulsion is so strong nowadays, drastic times call for drastic measures.

"I bought a watch! Look, so now I can tell the time without my phone!" one student said.

Adelphi University Prof. Donna Freitas is challenging her students to do the unthinkable in our smartphone addicted world – give up their smartphones for seven days.

"My hands are shaking right now," one student joked.

"The apps are designed to addict us and so I'm really interested in my students becoming conscious of their usage and also learning to focus," Prof. Freitas.

Her course is called "life unplugged" and it's no easy "A."

Adelphi University Prof. Donna Freitas and her class. (Credit: CBS2)

They marched to public safety to turn in their phones, getting their last minute fixes.

The course is prompting students to re-examine their relationships with devices.

How will they manage? Without the constant feed refreshing and on-demand contact?

"I'm freaking out, I could probably cry right now," Adelphi student Adrianna Cigliano said. "Not being able to text my mom if I need her."

"This is going to test how brave I am," Melonie Klein added.

Making things more "stressful" for kids, losing their GPS?

"I'm nervous because I have it in my hands all the time every second of the day and have everything at my fingertips all the time," Ashley Castillero said.

What the class is hoping they'll gain – time to think and connect to real people.

"I'm interested in them just experiencing life and conversation and relationships without constantly grabbing for their phones," Prof. Freitas said.

What will students do with all the extra time? Some say sleep better, study more, redo their rooms – that is if they survive what's anticipated to be a difficult withdrawal.

The students are allowed to use good old fashioned email on a desktop computer and have made safety plans to communicate in the event of an emergency.


View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.