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How Giving up Your Cell Phone for Lent Is More Than an Act of Faith

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Each year, one in four Americans give up indulging in one of life’s little luxuries for the period of Lent, the 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday ending this year on April 18.

Related: 4 Reasons Why Social Media Has Become So Toxic and What to Look for Next

Lent, of course, is the time when Christians undergo a small personal sacrifice to honor the suffering of Jesus Christ.

While drinking alcohol, smoking and eating sugary treats are the vices that typically top people’s Lent lists for abstention, a newer breed of modern “guilty pleasures” has gained acceptance by the faithful who practice Lent.

These activities include taking a break from habits like TV binge-watching, video game playing and, new this year ... plastics. Indeed, clergy from places as diverse as Pittsburgh and London are encouraging parishioners to give up the irresponsible use of plastic, with Britons actually invoking a mini social-movement via the hashtag #PlasticFeeLent on Twitter.

Pope Francis himself last month urged Catholics to break free from the “clutches of consumerism,” which include the distractions our mobile devices provide, keeping us from focusing on life’s essentials. The Pope's call has more than a few people choosing to disconnect from their mobile phones.

The U.K. just conducted the first national inquiry into the impact of social media addiction........

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