Almost everyone nowadays has a smartphone. Whether it be for work or just keeping in contact, the smartphone is an everyday appliance that can be found in almost every home. There are even tech-savvy subcultures who pride themselves on getting the newest phones, finding everything about the latest hardware used, camping overnight outside a shop to purchase the latest drop, there are many people who are most certainly smartphone obsessed. Among the tech-interested phone lovers there are an abundance of people who are social-media mad. Everybody uses it, it’s a part of our every-day lives, our culture, our 21st Century world. But some people are looking for a way out of this never ending, feedback cycling echo chamber that is our love for social media.
In a recent article, seventeen-year-old Robin West was interviewed, as unlike her peers she doesn’t have a smartphone. She instead decides to opt out of mindlessly scrolling through social media all day and use a “dumbphone”. These can be just basic phones with limited functions compared to a newer smartphone. Typically with these simpler phones you can; only send and receive SMS messages, make and receive calls, and if you get lucky even listen to the radio and possibly have the option to take photos. These “dumbphones” are like the devices from the late 1990s to early 2000s, they are coming back into fashion as a shield from the vortex that is social media!
Become more productive
Robin West’s decision to get rid of her smartphone was made two years ago, it is said to have been a spur of the moment idea. When West was looking for a replacement for her smartphone, she was intrigued by the low price of a so-called “brick phone”. The phone she currently owns only cost a staggering £8 and adding to that, as the phone has no smartphone functionalities she doesn’t even have to worry about paying monthly data bills! It is a very smart move. Of course some people need smartphones for work and in some cases some people make their money on social media, so not everyone will be able to ditch their smartphones! Ms West said in the recent article:
“I didn’t notice until I bought a brick phone how much a smartphone was taking over my life, I had a lot of social media apps on it, and I didn’t get as much work done as I was always on my phone.” She also added “I’m happy with my brick - I don’t think it limits me. I’m definitely more proactive.” Hm, definitely a lot to think about. … From low costs to extra time to be more productive!
These dumbphones are making a comeback and according to Google searches they have jumped up 89% between 2018 and 2021, according to a report carried out by the software company SEMrush. Sales figures are hard to come by in this sector but one report said that the global purchases for “dumbphones” were on course to hit one billion units sold last year, which is crazy to compare it to the 400 million sold in 2019.
Set yourself limits
For people who need smartphones there are alternatives if you can’t stop scrolling. You can set timers for certain apps, for example, you can give yourself 30 minutes a day on Instagram and Facebook. You can set a timer for 3 hours for Gmail so you can make sure you aren’t working all night! There are many ways your smartphone can help you manage your usage. If you look in the settings of your phone there will be a screen time section and you can manage your preferences from there. Sure, you will still have monthly data bills to pay but if you are on a decent contract with a good supplier you can certainly get a plan that financially fits you.
The choice is yours
It is very interesting to see brick-phones come back into fashion. It makes sense that they have had a resurgence in interest as the world has been social media mad for so long. Especially due to the pandemic, social media became a staple in most people’s lives, it enabled many people to remain in contact with family, and work from home. A well needed break makes sense, would you make the switch?
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