The emergence of smartphones has completely transformed society. We have become disconnected from one another because we spend so much time with our heads buried in our phones, which is ironic given the fact that smartphones were intended to help connect us with each other in the first place. It’s a rarity to have a conversation with someone now without them glancing at their phone.
Yet, smartphones have also helped progress society. They may suck us away from enjoying the present moment from time to time, but they have also allowed us to express ourselves online and connect with people all over the world, and introduced us to entirely new markets and new knowledge.
I personally have a “love-hate relationship” with my smartphone; I recognize my addictive tendencies towards it but I’m also grateful for it, as it acts as a tool to connect me with others and plays a huge role in my work. It’s easy to observe the polarities in the world of smartphones; the perceivably negative and positive roles they play in our lives are endless!
Many people cannot seem to control their addiction to social media and their smartphones because they use them far too frequently. One solution that’s starting to catch on is what many are referring to as “the dumb phone movement.”
What Is the Dumb Phone Movement?
As you may have guessed, this movement is all about abandoning our smartphones and returning back to our older, “dumber” cellular devices. To me, these older phones represent a time when I had to use a computer to connect to the internet or watch a video. A dumb phone could be a flip phone, a phone that doesn’t connect to the internet, a phone that doesn’t have apps, or a non-touch screen phone (basically, models that aren’t “smart” in the same way that an iPhone is). Back when I had one, I wasn’t checking my emails (though I was younger when I had a non-smart phone), but was simply using it to connect with my parents and friends.
So, what would not having a smartphone in today’s world look like? Well, you wouldn’t be constantly bombarded with negative news headlines, perpetuating the fear state so many mainstream media outlets connected to our smartphones love to spread. You wouldn’t be receiving endless notifications from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and other social media platforms, either.
You wouldn’t be getting email notifications, you wouldn’t have “maps” on your phone to help you navigate when you’re lost, and you wouldn’t have a high-quality camera to snap photos of your everyday life (depending on how “dumb” you choose your phone to be). You might even have to open up your phone to even see that you’ve received a message or a phone call, because odds are your “dumb” phone won’t just be one giant touchscreen.
To many, this reality may seem scary, or even drastic. Do we really need to abandon our phones to reduce our usage or deal with our addictions? To some, clearly they felt that the answer to this question is “yes,” because the dumb phone movement wouldn’t have picked up if they didn’t feel they could kick the habit through other means.
However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t own a smartphone without being addicted to it. There’s a big difference between enjoying your smartphone and being addicted to it! It’s all about recognizing whether or not you feel like you need to use your smartphone, versus only wanting to use it occasionally or when necessary.
At the end of the day, the dumb phone movement isn’t a sustainable option for many of us, either. I certainly couldn’t do a lot of my work without using one, so I completely understand that many of us simply can’t live our regular lives without a smartphone, and that’s completely fine! Just be mindful of how often you’re using it for work versus personal usage.
There’s no point in demonizing your phone when it clearly provides so many benefits, but we also need to recognize how it can hinder us as well. Our self worth shouldn’t be contingent on social media likes, and we shouldn’t be using our phones constantly, either; it’s all about achieving balance, as with everything else in life.
If you feel like you’re addicted to your smartphone or social media, check out the following CE articles:
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