It’s the 21st century and the smartphone has stolen the show. Whether it is its role at the dinner table, during a conversation with a friend, bridging lovers together or even during the pandemic being a ray of hope to bring people closer, it is undoubtedly the star of the show. But along with being the crutch of many, smartphones are also starting to be unpopular among some since they view them as too addictive. Their solution? Moving towards its counterpart ‘Dumbphones’. We explore what this is all about.
Why are people hating smartphones?
You might remember the old Nokia models that were sturdy and could withstand any fall. They came with basic features such as calling and texting and some high-end ones could even take a picture or two. But ‘no internet’ was the most important feature that set it apart from the smartphone.
Of course, when the smartphone era dawned and boomed, those basic models started to be lesser-known and used. With smartphones gaining popularity and even being economical enough, soon almost house helps, college-goers, vendors, and just about everyone owned these models. It was no more a statement of luxury but rather, one of necessity considering how much connected it kept you with others.
But this very feature has begun to be despised by some. These people feel that ‘being connected all the time to the world’ is drawing them away from themselves and their close ones.
And so it started to go back to where it all began: the dumbphone.
Will smartphones go ‘out of fashion’?
Software firm SEMrush reported that Google searches for these models jumped by 89% between 2018 and 2021. Ernest Doku, mobiles expert at price comparison site Uswitch.com was quoted saying to the BBC, “It appears fashion, nostalgia, and them appearing in TikTok videos, have a part to play in the dumbphone revival. Many of us had a dumbphone as our first mobile phone, so it's natural that we feel a sense of nostalgia towards these classic handsets."
However, nostalgia and longer battery life aren’t the only two reasons why people are switching to these feature phones. It also has many psychological benefits, according to those who use it.
Why are feature phones good for mental health?
You may have already guessed. Track your own behaviours when you use your smartphone. Scrolling through Instagram and other social media checking out what people are showing off. Stalking, excessive consumerism and a feeling of envy when you cannot afford to purchase something. A smartphone does enable you to be in touch with the world more closely, but at what cost?
Replace this with a feature phone and the disconnect might actually be therapeutic.
Przemek Olejniczak, a psychologist, swapped his smartphone for a Nokia 3310 and the reults were alarming. Spekaing to the BBC, he said "Before I would always be stuck to the phone, checking anything and everything, browsing Facebook or the news, or other facts I didn't need to know. Now I have more time for my family and me. A huge benefit is that I'm not addicted to liking, sharing, commenting, or describing my life to other people. Now I have more privacy." So to answer the question: is the smartphone controlling our lives? And how can we stop ourselves becoming slaves to it.
Are smartphones controlling us?
Mobile phones these days are not simply modes of connecting with the world, but they are also our news systems, our maps, our diaries, our virtual gatherings and so much more. Tech expert, Prof Sandra Wachter, a senior research fellow in artificial intelligence at Oxford University says that smartphones always want to grab one’s attention with the several notifications, updates, and breaking news. This, she says can keep you on edge, might even be agitating or even overwhelming.
So how do you stop yourself from getting sucked into this black hole of smart technology?
5 ways to stop your cell phone addiction
If you are looking to lead a healthier life away from the constant glare of the screen, here’s what you could do.
Put your phone away
Simple! You can’t stop yourself constantly checking your phone when it is with you? Put it away at the end of the day when you are done with work. Distancing yourself from your phone will cut your habit of checking it unintentionally.
Put a band on it
If you find yourself uselessly checking your phone for no reason at all, a good thing would be to put a brightly coloured band on it so each time you are tempted to unlock it, you ask yourself if it actually is urgent or simply mindless scrolling.
Set your phone aside for a day
Whether it is one or two days in a week or a few days a month, set your phone aside for these days and do not touch it except if you really need it urgently.
Turn off notifications
Ofcourse you need the important ones to know when you are getting a call or a text. But do you really need to know when someone tags you in a meme that very instant? Or is it going to be so tough to wait to open the app to know that someone has liked your picture? Turning off notifications will show you just how dependent you are on social media even when it isn’t really necessary.
Turn on grayscale
Don’t want to use your phone so much? Make it less desirable! Turn on the grayscale that removes shiny features and positive reinforcements every time you open apps. This could also work psychologically to reduce the attraction you feel to opening these apps, thus minimising the time you spend on them.