‘Enjoy Real Life’: The Move to Ditch Smartphones | Technology

In a world where many of us are glued to our smartphones, smart cell phones, Dulcie Cowling is something of an anomaly. She abandoned her cell phone.

Late last year, Cowling, 36, concluded that stopping using his device would improve his mental health. So over Christmas, she told her family and friends that she was moving to a old Nokia phone that could only make and receive calls and text messages.

She remembers that one of the main moments that led her to make that decision was a day in a park with her two children, aged 6 and 3. “I was using my cell phone, on a playground with the kids, and I saw that every parent – ​​there were almost 20 of them – was looking at their phone, just browsing,” she says.

  • ‘There is not much difference between drug addiction and cell phone addiction’, says psychologist
  • ‘Accept all cookies’: what does it mean notice that has become more common on the internet

“I thought, ‘When did this happen?’ Everyone is missing out on real life. I don’t think you go to your deathbed and think that you should have spent more time on Twitter or reading articles online.”

Cowling, who is creative director at London-based advertising agency Hell Yeah!, adds that the idea of ​​ditching your smartphone grew during the lockdowns caused by Covid-19.

“I thought about how much of my life was spent looking at my phone and what else could I be doing. Being constantly connected to too many services creates too many distractions, and it’s too much for the brain to process.”

She plans to use the time gained from ditching her smartphone to read and sleep better.

About 9 out of 10 people in the UK now own a smartphone, a figure that is widely repeated in the developed world. We are glued to them – a recent study found that, on average, a person spends 4.8 hours a day with their device.

  • KNOW MORE: WhatsApp is the most used application by Brazilians; check the list

However, a small but growing number of people believe that this situation has reached the limit.

Alex Dunedin dropped his smartphone two years ago. “Culturally we’ve become addicted to these tools,” says he, who is an educational researcher and technology expert. “They’re affecting cognition and hurting productivity.”

Dunedin, who lives and works in Scotland (UK), says another reason behind his decision was his environmental concerns. “We’re wasting exponential amounts of energy producing exponential amounts of CO2 emissions,” he says.

He says he’s been happier and more productive since he stopped using his smartphone. Dunedin claims that he doesn’t even have an old-model cell phone or even a landline today. Other people can only contact him electronically through emails, which he opens on his computer at home.

“It improved my life,” he says. “My thoughts are free from being constantly cognitively connected to a machine that I need to feed energy and money. I think the danger of technologies is that they are making our lives emptier.”

Lynne Voyce, a 53-year-old teacher and writer from Birmingham, England, went in the opposite direction. She returned to using a smartphone in August of last year, after a six-year hiatus.

She claims she was convinced, with some reluctance, to buy a device again because she had to deal with QR codes in restaurants and so-called covid passports, in addition to facilitating contact with one of her daughters, who lives in Paris (France) .

But she plans to ditch the cell phone again, if she can. “After the pandemic, and when Ella [sua filha mais velha] I’m not living abroad anymore, I might try to quit again. Sounds like we’re talking about an addiction, don’t we?”

When Voyce first ditched her smartphone in 2016, it was to help encourage her daughters to cut down on the time they spent on their devices. “They were glued to their cell phones. I thought the only way to stop it was for me to abandon my own phone. And it made all the difference”, says the teacher.

“For example, we would go to a restaurant, and they wouldn’t see me pick up my cell phone anymore.” Not having a smartphone “takes a lot of pressure off my brain,” she says.

“I no longer felt like I had to answer things instantly or be available when I left.”

Yet while some are concerned about how much time they spend on their cell phone, for millions of others it is a blessing.

“More than ever, access to healthcare, education, social services and, often, our friends and relatives is digital, and the smartphone is a lifeline for many,” says a spokesperson for the cell phone network. Vodafone, UK.

“We’ve also created resources to help people get the most out of their technology device, as well as stay safe when online – which is extremely important.”

However, Hilda Burke, a psychotherapist and author of The Phone Addiction Workbook, says there is a strong link between heavy cell phone use and relationship issues, sleep quality, our ability to switch off and relax and concentration levels.

“Many people have a constant backlog of orders coming their way through their device, many of them with a false sense of urgency,” he says.

“People feel unable to set boundaries, with the result that they feel obliged to check their emails and messages as the last thing they do at night and the first thing they do in the morning.”

If getting rid of your smartphone seems too extreme, but you’re worried that you’re spending too much time on it, there are other steps you can take to reduce your usage.

Although it seems counterintuitive, more apps are emerging to cut down on constant, pointless browsing. For example, Freedom lets you temporarily block apps and websites so you can focus more. The Off The Grid app allows you to lock your cell phone for a certain period of time.

Burke says it would be helpful for more people to monitor how much time they spend on their cell phone. “Beginning to realize exactly how much time you’re wasting each day on your phone can be a powerful wake-up call and a catalyst for change.”

She also advises setting short periods when your cell phone is turned off or left at home and gradually increasing the time until you turn it back on.

Finally, she recommends choosing an image or word that represents what you would rather be doing – if you had more time – as the screenshot on your phone.

“Considering that most of us check our phone 55 times a day, and some of us even 100 times, this is a great visual reminder of a more valuable way to spend your precious time.”

About Abhishek Pratap

Food maven. Unapologetic travel fanatic. MCU's fan. Infuriatingly humble creator. Award-winning pop culture ninja.

Check Also

Cats know each other’s names and the names of people they live with

In recent years, scientists have been proving that cats really do connect deeply with humans, …