Four Reasons To Ditch That Smartphone

The smartphone is arguably the greatest invention since the wheel. I never cease to be impressed by how much one can do with this tiny handheld device. It’s a flashlight, a radio, a TV and a movie screen. A browser, a book, a Rolodex and a notepad. A camera, a newspaper, a GPS and a clock. It connects us to social media, performs job searches and monitors our health and our homes. It’s a photo editor, a level, a dictionary and a voice recorder. It’s a weather radio, a meal finder, a payment processor and a tape measure. It’s even a remote control, a shopping cart and a ride hailer. It’s an emergency beacon, a nooky finder, a language teacher and a calculator. It can unlock your car door and sound the alarm. For some people it even starts the car! It gives us our daily horoscopes, keeps us connected to our businesses and blogs, oh…and it’s a telephone, too. Someday, it will probably control our self-driving cars.

With all that going for it, why would I want you to put your smartphone away and go back to the old flip phone?

I’ll give you 4 great reasons:

  1. Smartphones are a giant time suck

I don’t know about you, but I spend far too much time on my phone. I have a regular rotation of checking each of my social media accounts, then Zillow, then to the stock market app, then email where I find 27 new blog posts to read, then to see what’s fabulous on Kickstarter, then back to Facebook where I start the cycle all over again so I don’t miss something new. For me, this compulsion was unprecedented before the smartphone. I was healthy, active and extremely alert. You couldn’t get me to sit down for a-nee-thing, except maybe a good Tom Hanks movie. Now I feel like I’m spending all my free time staring into my palm. It’s really quite pathetic (and my butt is getting bigger).

I read an article claiming that people spend an average of 40 minutes a day on Facebook.

  1. Constant notifications

Our phones have us on a dopamine drip. I don’t know about you, but I get a little bump of ecstasy every time my phone vibrates. On the rare occasions it doesn’t beep or vibrate, I’m checking it to make sure it’s not dead. I swear I can hardly hold a conversation without checking it eighteen times. On that, I know I’m not alone.

I’m pretty sure it’s contributing to ADD.

It’s not just notifications that threaten to fracture our attention. It’s the constant barrage of ads and a persistent newsfeed. A lot of us switched to Netflix from cable to avoid commercials, but there they are right in the palm of our hands like little bags of hot kernels popping all over our screens.

  1. They’re making us stupid

Thanks to our increasing reliance on Google, we have no incentive to memorize the answers to our questions because when we forget, we can just ask Google again.

Forget spelling, too. Autocorrect and autofill have ripped that ability right from our executive centers. Memorization of any kind, really, has taken leave. Phone numbers, last names and addresses – all gone. Remember when we used to have dozens of phone numbers memorized when we had to rotary dial each digit? Now, I barely remember my own phone number.

  1. It’s compromising our health

Headaches. Eye strain. Probably some sort of radiation poisoning. And…depression.

Depression? From a phone? Yes! A recent study by the University of Illinois linked heavy cell phone use to both anxiety and depression. It makes sense when you think about it: we’re literally addicted to our phones. Every addiction eventually results in a dampening of its initial high, followed by aggressive consumption to achieve a new high. We’re getting sucked in deeper and deeper, but getting less out of it.

And now that we can compare every detail of our lives to our peers’ (often embellished) social media accounts…well, it’s a recipe for depression.

And so…

As amazing as the smartphone is, it works too hard to dictate our time, rob us of our freedom and hold us in rapture. I, for one, think it’s time to lift our heads, reengage our brains and rejoin the natural world.

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8 comments

  1. Beautifully written. Especially love the first paragraph. I couldn’t agree more with all that you say. I don’t have the “addiction”, but I can’t let go either. Every time it goes off, I get irritated. I’ve turned off notifications for most things, uninstalled unnecessary apps and only spend time on something when I want to, not when it beckons me endlessly.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I couldn’t agree more. I have a smartphone and it’s very annoying. For that reason, it’s usually turned off, and I don’t engage in much social media because I’m much more interested in what’s going on in my immediate environment. People are missing so much of the good stuff. Like, will they be lying on their deathbeds saying, “Hand me my phone. I need to make my final tweet.” No. No, they will not.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. And THAT is why I teach! We GenXers still have a choice. We remember when smartphones didn’t exist, when our progressive-thinking friend’s concept of the Kindle was only a probability. I think that’s why we share your perspective (or at least I do) that smartphones can change us. I honestly think we’re the last link between life before and life after this unimaginable access to the world. We remember when it was unimaginable. We remember the restrictions and the freedom of being unplugged! Not to change subjects drastically, but I noticed that you follow Zillow. Another real estate stalker? Alright!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I haven’t gotten a smart phone yet. I had a cell phone for years until around 2006 and then I stopped carrying one. I just got my wife’s old talk &text phone as a hand me down when she became the last person on earth to get a smart phone. But texting on my phone sucks and that’s how the rest of my family communicates so it looks like I’m about to take my daughter’s old iphone 6. I’m really concerned about the OCD factor. I think I’ll need to get my wife to set a new password to my wordpress account so I can’t connect on my phone.

    Like

    • LOL on setting a password to WordPress! You’ll probably be checking your stats several times a day in the beginning. The smart phone is a handy tool for many reasons, but I think you’ll find that after awhile, it will dumb your life down. There is so much going out outside our heads, but it’s hard to see when the world feels like it’s in the palm of your hand. Good luck!

      Liked by 1 person

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