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Another day goes by on a flip phone

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OK, so this flip phone thing at times is pleasant and at other times is downright annoying. I am realizing that while smartphones largely enable us, they also cripple us!

The number one thing I am finding to be a problem with a flip phone is navigation. The young people of this smartphone generation simply don’t know how to get around without their phone GPS. Scary.

I myself have seen that without GPS I panic. I expect to have a re-route instantly if I go the wrong way. Before Google Maps/ Apple maps there was Mapquest or simply even reading a map. These days I doubt anyone of this generation even OWNS a map, even less – knows how to read one! NOT GOOD PEOPLE. My phone has Verizon navigator for an extra fee. 10 bucks per month! NO WAY! Thankfully Jon has his phone.

Smartphones create a cushy comfort of instant information. When we don’t have access to that anymore we are put at a severe disadvantage. I DON’T LIKE THAT.

In honest observation, I’m seeing that my smartphone has caused a “habit” of feeling anxious. When I am unable to get to my email account to see my social media or how my YouTube channel is doing I worry, I wonder, I grow anxious until I can get that small fix of reassurance. My flip phone can access my Gmail and Twitter but the web browser is severely crippled and the lack of apps is maddening. I am so used to being able to check things when I need to that the instant gratification looks quite close to an addictive, obsessive compulsive behavior! What are we doing to ourselves people!? It’s not natural or good for us.

I think the smart thing to do with this type of challenge, if you rely on social media, is to wean.

You must wean and form a new habit. Cutting out smartphone cold turkey causes anxiety. I am willing to go through with it for this experiment though.

I thought this would be fun and it is! But I am really getting to see what this connected world is doing to us as a species. I will keep notes.

Erica Griffin Erica Griffin is the founder and editor-in-chief of “The Technology Nerd” YouTube channel.

Comment(5)

  1. Hi Erica I totally agree with you there. I did this a couple months back not with a flip phone but with my old Ericsson T710 and I bearly made it through the week. Gone are the days when you would leave home and all you needed was your keys and wallet. I find now that if I leave home without my wallet I am not to concerned as I have tap to pay on my phone. Although we have to think about the future it’s not a great way to go being connected constantly. Going off grid for a couple days is a healthy thing to do if you can stomach it. Never the less keep up the great work and I am sure with your perseverance you will complete the challenge successfully.

  2. As someone of the generation who grew up reading and enjoying paper maps GPS and Sat Nav’s are sometimes a poor substitute. Having a phone these days that isn’t “smart” I suppose is the equivalent of sending smoke signals. I would say personal one to one relationships should never be overtaken or superseded by social media but live side by side together.

  3. If you have a 4G dongle, you can install emulator (such as BlueStacks) on your laptop that enables you to run Android application, and then you could use GPS from there. Disadvantage: Your laptop could weight at least 900g! (mine is 920g)

  4. It’s very hard to wean yourself from social media when you have immediate access to the app on your smartphone so you can visit it at any time you wish. Sometimes you do it without even realizing you’re doing it; it’s getting pretty bad. It’s a bit of FOMO and a bit of OCD, all rolled up into one nasty, stress and anxiety filled package.

    Perhaps using apps where you can limit what apps you run (or what times of day they’ll work) so you’re forced to not use them until a certain time is the next challenge to try:

    http://www.inc.com/jeremy-goldman/6-apps-to-stop-your-smartphone-addiction.html

    I *really* like this flip phone challenge idea, but since smartphones are so affordable and widely available, is it something that we need to do? Are there any real advantages of using a flip phone over a smartphone other than just not having apps that are actually useful? I’ll be interested to read/see your final thoughts.

  5. I take a smartphone hiatus every three or four months. I do it specifically when I am feeling too stressed or overwhelmed. The first time I took a break from smartphones, I thought I was going crazy. You don’t realize how often you look at/check your phone. There really is nothing on there that can’t wait just a bit – but we’ve conditioned ourselves to believe that we MUST take care of whatever it is/look at whatever we wish to see IMMEDIATELY. When I take a break, I use a Samsung m400 or — believe it or not, my absolute favorite cheapo dumbphone – a Samsung T199. That phone doesn’t even have a camera!

    Once you take a break like this every so often, it is refreshing. You just have to remind yourself that you are NOT cut off from anyone. People can call you. They can text. You can get help in an emergency. You are dealing with a PERCEIVED lack of contact: we’re becoming too reliant on/controlled by machines instead of remembering that we are the ones that should be doing the controlling.

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