Colts from Tonga #9: telefoni, ‘ikai telefoni

During our amazing 10 days in Tonga, I had my phone in airplane mode the entire time to:

  1. avoid roaming charges that my parents would eventually pay
  2. stay off of various social media platforms
  3. refrain from texting and calling
  4. have a better experience overall without worries of my phone

Let’s go back in time a little here. Before we went to ‘Atata Island, I was on my beloved iPhone 6S quite a bit. I would often need to plug it into the wall to charge, maybe once a day, sometimes twice if I was really adamant on the battery. Obviously, my overuse bothered me and the people around me as well, and I undoubtedly wanted to change my bad habits, but it’s definitely something that’s easier said than done. I’d put my phone away when I would catch myself spending extended periods of time staring at it, but I’d always come back to this illuminated brick of addictiveness.

Speeding up a little in history, when we were on ‘Atata, I found that it was effortless to leave my phone alone. For the entire day, I could leave it in my bag with the exception of taking photos. One thing that I definitely noticed was how much time meant to us back in Richmond. I think that the one thing I did most with my phone was checking the time. Time to me in Tonga was like nothing. I took my time walking, showering, writing in my journal, and would occasionally be late for lunch or dinner because my roomies and I would just be talking about nothing, talking about everything.

Fast forwarding to the present day, I have slowly reverted back to somewhat what I was like before the trip. Well, that might be a little bit of an overstatement. Of course, I can’t really measure the amount of phone time I use every day, it feels like I’ve reverted back to my old ways, but not completely all the way back. I notice a bunch of times that I am spending more time outdoors, in the backyard, sometimes just sitting or laying on the floor pondering about whatever.

In the video (attached below), Simon Sinek says that we are addicted to our mobile phones because of how they make us feel. Using them results in the release of dopamine, which is related to the reward and pleasure sector of our brains. Dopamine helps us cope with stress and anxiety, similar to the way alcohol and other drugs do. From where I’m standing as a high school student, our workload and schedules are quite jam-packed and since using our phones makes us more relaxed, we tend to lean towards these pleasurable things and avoid our real responsibilities.


44 days since.