Rachel Jones

Rachel Jones, full time primary school teacher and author of Scatter of Stars blog, tells us why she is taking part in Scroll Free September.

What month is it again? Stoptober? Movember? Dry January? Ah no, of course. August.

As a teacher, the month of August can feel like one long Sunday night. Don't get me wrong, I'm incredibly fortunate to have the summer holidays, but it doesn't stop me day dreaming about being garrotted with my school lanyard on the first day of September.

But this year it isn't just the signs in Sainsbury's screaming 'BACK TO SCHOOL' that have me counting down to September. A while ago I stumbled upon a BBC news article about RSPH's new campaign, Scroll Free September (ironically I found the article while I was... scrolling).

I don't know about you but for me there are not enough hours in the day. In fact, I'm one of those annoying people who perpetually complain about never having enough time. 

Let’s do a little quiz. Which of the following do I say I don’t have enough time to do? Is it…

A) Read a book
B) Go to the gym
C) Go for weekday drinks or
D) All of the above?

My answer is, of course, D.

I wonder... if I stopped filling in every free two minute window by scrolling through my social media, could I claw back some precious me-time?

I recently discovered a little trick on my iPhone that tells you how long you have spent on certain applications. The first time I looked I was HORRIFIED to find I had spent 7 hours scrolling through Facebook in the last 7 days. 7 HOURS!

I quickly realised that 7 hours could easily be the equivalent of reading at least two books, or going to seven gym classes, or drinking wine for an hour every day for a week! (Nb. I do not condone drinking wine for an hour every day for a week).

It's even more than enough time to update my blog weekly, so now I have absolutely no excuse for not posting enough.

Follow these steps to have a look for yourself now. Go on. I dare you:

Settings > Battery > Scroll down to battery usage and select 'Last 7 Days' > Click the little clock to the right > Scream in horror.

I told you!

Even weeks after I made this discovery, and after really trying to clamp down on my scrolling, today my phone still tells me I’ve spent 5 hours of this week gawking aimlessly at Facebook and Instagram.

These days it is widely believed that social media has a negative impact on our mental health. Previously I thought this was because of all of the images of unobtainable (not to mention heavily edited) beautiful bodies, or because we are all 'comparing somebody else's highlights reel to our own show’s bloopers'. I'm sure that is still true, but I’m now wondering if it’s also detrimental because of the experiences it is taking away from us.

Reading books reduces anxiety, going to the gym releases endorphins and drinking wine and having a chat with friends, well, I'm not sure what that does exactly but it certainly makes me feel better! All this mindless scrolling is depriving me of these experiences as well as the benefits they bring, and it might just be depriving you too.

If you think a complete scrolling ban sounds too much like jumping in at the deep end then why not choose one of the other Scroll Free September options, such as giving up social media at work, or after 6pm? You can decide what works best for you.

This September I'll be going cold turkey and locking my social media accounts for the month. I'd love to hear your thoughts, and I'd REALLY like to hear your reactions to how many hours you've scrolled for in the last 7 days. Let me know in the comments section on my website.

Wish me luck! I'll see you again in October.