I bought my first cell phone about 20 years ago. It was handy for letting my husband know where we were when the kids and I were out running around, but since it was a prepaid phone and minutes were expensive, I only used it when necessary and kept it off most of the time.
I was forced to upgrade phones once or twice over the years, but I never got into using the thing regularly, partly because of the cost and partly because I like being out of the reach of others for periods of time. I need that time to think.
Once smartphones took hold, I looked into getting one and rejected the idea pretty quickly. As a writer and therefore a reader, I can’t stop myself from reading; I was addicted to news sites on the Internet before I ever got a cellphone. Having the Internet at hand 24/7 in the form of a smartphone would be going in the wrong direction.
Of course, like the few others who don’t have smartphones, I’ve suffered through having dinner guests who rudely keep checking their phones, nearly been hit by drivers who are checking their phones, and have occasionally been interrupted in worship by the chirping, dinging or singing of some fellow worshipper’s phone. Sigh.
But I never really thought about how fortunate I am to have evaded the call of the smartphone until I read this article. The writer describes his phone addiction and his efforts to break it in detail. (He also makes me glad that I’ve always limited my time on Twitter.) It’s particularly poignant that restricting his smartphone use now lets him spend more focused time with his wife and kids, but they too are addicted to their smartphones, so one has to wonder just how meaningful his newly gained time with them can be.
Someone recently pointed out to me that I miss out on a lot by not being on Fbook. That’s true. I wish that others in my family weren’t so addicted to posting their entire lives online where others can see and I can’t. That said, I think there’s a special place in hell for people like those who created Fbook, who lure people in with a software program that lets them keep in touch with others so they can make a lot of money sharing and selling those people’s personal information to other companies. I don’t want any part of that.
As for smartphones, that article made it pretty unlikely that I’ll ever get one. His experience makes a compelling case for living your life without becoming a slave to perpetual notifications on a gadget.