How I annoyed friends and family: Not having a smartphone
Over the years, I was continually amazed by the strength of the reactions, both negative and positive, to this revelation. Friends and family were positively indifferent, accusing me of being selfish was so difficult.
Strangers and acquaintances were generally more curious. Some praised and admitted that they wished they could do the same, as if I were advocating for a life off the grid. This response reminded me of the admiration for parents who listened to get rid of TVs in their homes so that their kids would be bored enough to read, play outside, and pick up organic vegetables. Thankfully, I was more than happy to accept help from the great electronic baby sitter.
The truth is, I’m neither an evangelist for a smartphone-free lifestyle, nor have I ever felt guilty for choosing it. So, when an editor recently wrote to me, “I’m honestly curious how you get on with life without one,” I thought of all the ways I see and feel people using them. Whether we choose to embrace them or not, we should do so thoughtfully.
So what are some of us who protest the disappearance of smartphones? The entertainment value is a big one. But I’m not a gamer, and if there’s a television program or movie I want to watch, I’ll wait to see it on a 50-inch screen in the living room. Then there’s texting — a feature I could actually use — but I’m still not convinced it’s any better than sending e-mail from my laptop or just making calls using a flip phone or landline. .
The most compelling feature I see in a cellphone is the camera. Having a phone camera in your pocket can be a form of survival for those who are regularly pulled over. black while driving – and like darnella frazier In the George Floyd case and as many other responsible bystanders have demonstrated, it can be a tool for an ally.
But while I don’t mind the idea of carrying an electronic device that I’m forced to wear on my ankle, I’ve always preferred not to tie it.
When I search (on my laptop) the phrase “things that people would leave instead of their cellphones,” some of the most common responses to the nearly 3.5 billion results include “shampooing,” “holidays,” “their dogs” and “theirs.” . important people.” Surprisingly, in study Published earlier this year by Review.org, a company that tests products found in homes, 47 percent of Americans age 18 and older described their relationship with their smartphone as an addiction.
Although it is a phrase that is often used casually, smartphone addiction has serious implications. Dr Anna Lembke, a professor of psychiatry at the Stanford School of Medicine who has worked with adults, says they suffer from depression in large part because of their smartphone habits. And while most smartphone users aren’t accustomed to them, they believe the bigger problem is that the devices create the hope that they will bring people closer together.
“The illusion of connection that smartphones create is simply an illusion,” Lembke says. “Smartphones have the paradoxical effect of increasing FOMO.” The fear of missing out can be “potentially debilitating and even life-threatening for vulnerable individuals.” For some, she adds, simply putting your phone away for a month can significantly improve symptoms.
(One might assume that people who become addicted to their phones are more likely to have an addictive personality, but, says Lembke, “in my experience, many people who are addicted to digital drugs are more likely to have other Don’t use any kind of drugs.”
Despite the risks, 2021 according to the Pew Research Center Survey, Only 3 percent of Americans don’t own a cellphone — and I’ve yet to meet one of them.
For better or worse, the pressure to conform is immense. So, this year, I ordered my first smartphone and, for at least 24 hours, I plan to take it out of the glove box to see what I’m missing. For the other 97 percent, I’d propose to reverse the experiment, to see what they might be missing with a smartphone.
Meanwhile, as I slogged through the 146-page manual (on my desktop computer, naturally), knowing that I could probably learn Urdu faster than all the tasks on this “user-friendly” device Well, I’m wondering how smart this decision really was—and I haven’t canceled my print subscription yet.
Andy Lewinsky is a frequent contributor to Globe magazine. send comments [email protected],
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