Digital Detox: Watch what happens when Ohio school students give up their cellphones

CINCINNATI, Ohio-It’s a lesson in empathy that students will never forget; going “cold turkey” from their smart-phones for an entire week.

The participating juniors and seniors are all AP Psychology students at Oak Hills High School in Cincinnati.

Teacher Amanda Hogel got the idea several years ago after noticing a lack of empathy for people struggling with addiction and other problems.

“One of the things I’ve seen from students is the inability to put themselves in another person's shoes,” said Hogel.

She and fellow psych teacher Mandy Rice began running the “digital detox” or “simulation” five years ago.

“I had students averaging like 9 1/2 hours a day on their phones,” said Rice, “Kids are growing up unable to have a conversation with people because they’re so reliant on their cellphones.”The teachers participate in the simulation along with the students, because they don’t like “hypocrites” and they say it makes the simulation more effective.

This year, for the first time they allowed Fox 8 camera’s inside the exercise, to record the simulation as students experience everything from withdrawal to an awakening and even stronger relationships at home.

Amanda & Mandy’s Tips for trying the “digital detox” simulation:

1. Know there is a problem- track your activity, there is technology out there that lets you easily do this now. Do the research that shows you the effects of screen time, especially on the developing brain, and on our relationships with others- it's straining no matter your age/developmental stage.

2. Set a time frame. We recommend at least a week- and no half-attempts. Give it your all or don't do it at all. Use the phone only for calls- no texting, no apps.

3. Do it together- as a family, couple, work team, friend group, etc.... do it with someone else. Hold each other accountable.

4. Look up - be observant in the time frame, I would encourage you to even journal, blog, be truly reflective throughout the day on your moment to moment experiences.

5. Warn others/bring others in. This means that you'll need to prepare ahead of time. Anything worth doing is worth preparing for ahead of time, so let your closest circles of people (family, colleagues, friends) know that you're doing this and if they truly need you to call (or email, but don't check it on your phone). AAAAAND, let them know to not leave you out. Ask them to make sure to include you in conversations (in person, not via text) and in social events even if it means calling them. Set up times to talk with people on the phone who are long-distance