Unlock Stress: How Disabling My Phone's Passcode Reduced My Anxiety
You and your best friends are sitting around the kitchen with wine in hand, updating each other about your lives.
Unfortunately, you need to run to the bathroom.
As you're in there, you realize something: You left your phone on the counter.
You can't remember whether or not you locked it after you finished scrolling through Snapchat.
You quickly rush to finish up, and you calmly run as fast as you can back to the kitchen.
You spot your phone sitting right on the counter where you left it.
It locked itself. Thank God.
But if it was unlocked, how bad would it really have been?
I recently had the magical idea to disable the screen lock on my phone.
When my boyfriend came to visit, he didn't have a lock on his phone. But whenever he used mine, it was always such a bother to constantly unlock it.
Then, the other evening, I was spending some time with my cousin. I realized she also didn't have a lock on her phone.
So, why did I decide to do the same?
I wanted to feel the empowerment they felt from not having the need to protect their privacy so intently.
What happened to not being worried when we can't remember where we left our phones?
How did we manage to function properly when phones didn't have the option to lock?
I guess part of locking my phone is the fact I don't want people going through it. This was especially true when I lived with a roommate I couldn't trust.
But is that really the only reason people lock their phones? For the false sense of security?
Let's be honest: Locking your phone doesn't mean no one can get into it. There are hackers, and they can find a way into anyone's device.
And you would never know because your locked phone still appears untouched.
So, what is it?
Why does locking our phones or forgetting to lock them give us so much anxiety?
For me, locking my phone was really just for logistics.
I never really had an issue with my friends looking through it or family members using it without my permission.
I could walk away from it for a moment, and if it weren't for habit, it would stay unlocked.
My phone wasn't an extension of myself. It was just my toy.
I loved using it for obvious conveniences. It had a wide variety of apps, and it kept me from going crazy when I needed to twiddle my thumbs.
But, I have yet to entrust it with my entire life.
If I lost it, I'd get a new one.
I'll admit I wasn't this independent of my phone at first. I once left it at home and went back for it, despite the fact it took 45 minutes on a bus to do so.
(It wasn't my proudest moment.)
How does it feel to have my phone (temporarily) unlocked?
I still have moments, depending on the people I'm around, when I'm apprehensive to leave it without a lock.
But overall, nothing has changed.
I understand our emotions can be tied to our devices.
These devices store many of our memories, and they can put us in touch with anyone in our lives in an instant.
If you were given the choice to leave your phone unlocked for a day or have it taken away, which would you choose?
Would you be able to handle having your phone, but needing to trust you'll still have your privacy if you're asked to leave it somewhere?
I don't know how long I can live without a screen lock, but I don't see myself worrying about it anytime soon.
It really isn't so bad.
Leave it unlocked when you're in your room, and walk away from it.
It's all about baby steps, kids.