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What happened when 9 teens gave up their cellphones for a week

High school sophomores agreed to an experiment — a week without their phones. What happened next took everyone by surprise.
/ Source: TODAY

If you have teenagers or simply see them walking down the street, you know how hooked they are on their cellphones. What would happen if they were separated from their mobile lifelines for a full week?

As part of our series "Teens Tell All," we searched for a group of teens who'd be willing to try. The producers of the documentary "Screenagers," a film about the obsession teenagers feel for their digital devices, helped connect us to Black Hills High School in Washington state. When teacher Dave Heywood first asked his class of sophomores to give up their phones, almost all said, no way.

Related: You CAN wean your kids off their devices: 5 ways to do it

But after some arm-twisting, nine brave students agreed.

There were restrictions:

teen detox segment
Could you pass the experiment? NBC News

In case of emergencies, the students were given flip phones — yes, flip phones.

It was painful in the beginning.

"I am going insane," said Elena, one of the participants. "I'm already bored," said Johnnie.

Yet, within days, there were significant changes. The students were doing their chores and finishing their homework.

teen detox segment
The no-phones experiment begins with nine teens from Black Hills High School in Washington state. NBC News

"I started reading a book last night," said Jessica.

"It's made me hang out with family more often. And so it's been nice," said Brandon.

Related: Do you have FOMO? Take a quiz to see if you have a problem

Watch the video to see how the students changed after the full week.