It’s Time To Quit The Smartphone

NickK

Robin
Here I was sitting at a doctor's office last Friday. Three people with me in the waiting room. All with double masks (of course) and incessantly staring at their mobile phone. If you would time travel back to 100 years ago and show this scene as a photo to anyone back in those days they would be horrified as to the apocalyptic horror show that is the future. Well, it's our reality now and if we don't all fight back collectively then it'll be considered the new normal.
There were similar concerns for the newspaper, before the smartphone even existed.
People were burried in their papers when traveling or waiting.
 

Luna Novem

Woodpecker
Woman
I have struggled with smartphone and technology addiction since I was 13, especially because it enables sitting alone and being inactive. Public schools are culpable to a high degree in dooming Zoomers to cell phone addiction. In senior year I got a Nokia 3310 and I was the only person I could find that did not have a smartphone. I was in a class of over 800. The amount of schoolwork that they had us do on smartphones was ridiculous. In 2016 Kahoot! and a few similar websites infected my school, and some teachers would mark your participation grade down for not being able to participate, because having a smartphone was a given and a student to pulling one out was obviously choosing not to use theirs. I do not blame my parents, for the beast did not show its nature in their time, but I will never subject children of mine to such abuse.
That's horrible. I recommend looking into Memoria Press if you choose to homeschool future kiddos.
 
Had smart phones ever since a BlackBerry about 15 years ago, then went to a flip phone over two years ago and do not regret it at all. It has saved a lot of money and it is not a constant distraction. I have an old GPS in the car, plus a glove box full of maps. If I need to check email or do something on the web I have a desktop at home for that. For music, my Alcatel flip phone can store and play MP3's, and has a good enough camera.

Besides all the good points others have made, the correlation to the general craziness and smart phone use has tracked 1:1 as far as I am concerned. People are constantly on the news one way or another. The media loves it, and the more gasolene they pour on the fire the more people turn to them. Here is a suggestion: if you are not going to do anything about the news, what does it matter if you keep up with it every day? Let alone every hour? Ever occur to anyone that besides a tracking device, a smart phone is a conduit for physiological warfare against you? Not much you can do on one where someone is not trying to shove news at you.
 

debeguiled

Peacock
Gold Member
There were similar concerns for the newspaper, before the smartphone even existed.
People were burried in their papers when traveling or waiting.
If you think the smart phone hasn't changed things you must be very young. The way electronic devices engage people is fundamentally different from anything else.

Newspaper, books, illuminated manuscripts, telegrams, papyri, smoke signals, whatever.

These things are nothing like personal electronic devices, historical anecdotes notwithstanding.

These damned kids and their lamb skin scrolls I tell you!

I'm going back to mnemonics and repetitive epic poems.

Kept it all in our heads we did!

Seriously though, I remember a great cafe in the early nineties where everyone in town hung out, all ages, many different typ s of people, all talking to each other, laughing, philosophizing. It was a rocking place. Moved away, came back few years later. Laptops creeping in, walk men, people a little more isolated. Did the same again, and it was iPods and flip phones, even more isolation. Same again a few years later and smart phone had turned a once lively place into fifty separate cafes. Place closed last year.

Newspapers didn't do that.
 

Durden347

Sparrow
We are really going through the End Times. Even a poor person in the US can afford a smartphone. There are many phone plans that work with everyone's budget. Even a low end smartphone is good enough with internet, GPS, and all the other features that a basic flip phone has. Moreover, in big cities, there are programs where people on welfare are given free phones.
 

Elmore

Kingfisher
The only thing i ever use my smartphone for is WhatsApp. I like using Audio messages to chat with friends back home and elsewhere. I always quite liked emailing people, but these days so few people seem to bother, it seems the written word as in an 'e-letter' has been overtaken by low-quality stuff like whatsapp & s'media.

But it is a good, free way to keep in touch & if i could get that on a Nokia i would instantly throw the thing in the trash.

I use to have Ipod Touch a few years ago, for music, podcasts & the camera, & if ever required, wi-fi. The ridiculous obsolence of those coupled with the price made me tap out (300 Euros for something that lasts about 18 months before battery dies for good).

I would happily go back to an old pre-internet access Ipod for music. Podcasts are good for walking & travel i have to admit, that would be a bind to lose, but when you consider the alternative is better in that it encourages being alone with your thoughts whilst out, and reading, not that much of one.

In conclusion i really should just bin it, and let friendships fall away that need tech as a crutch. But in these weird fractured times, i'm not sure its best to start cutting off avenues of conversation with people, which would lead inevitably lead to more social isolation.
 

ilostabet

Pelican
If you think the smart phone hasn't changed things you must be very young. The way electronic devices engage people is fundamentally different from anything else.

Newspaper, books, illuminated manuscripts, telegrams, papyri, smoke signals, whatever.

These things are nothing like personal electronic devices, historical anecdotes notwithstanding.

These damned kids and their lamb skin scrolls I tell you!

I'm going back to mnemonics and repetitive epic poems.

Kept it all in our heads we did!

Seriously though, I remember a great cafe in the early nineties where everyone in town hung out, all ages, many different typ s of people, all talking to each other, laughing, philosophizing. It was a rocking place. Moved away, came back few years later. Laptops creeping in, walk men, people a little more isolated. Did the same again, and it was iPods and flip phones, even more isolation. Same again a few years later and smart phone had turned a once lively place into fifty separate cafes. Place closed last year.

Newspapers didn't do that.

There are definitely levels.

Socrates was against writing (and he had good arguments). Reading, itself, is always a solitary action - except when you are reading to other people, but it's clearly not meant for that, it is meant to be taken alone. So literacy will always create, to a certain extent, solipsism and isolation.

Neil Postman argues, very persuasively, that the printing press - by democratizing writing and reading - cannot be separated from the rise of individualism. And he also argued, again persuasively, that the telegraph was what effectively changed the communication environment in the same radical way as the printing press did before - and that put the process in motion to where it is now, with smartphones and these little disconnected thought-worlds we all live in.

His argument also tackles the 'newspaper question' by saying that newspapers before and after the telegraph are essentially two different mediums: before it they provided actionable and relevant information to the population of a certain place, which was always somewhat local, in this way they are part of the community environment; after the telegraph, they became able to give you news about things on the other side of the country, continent, globe - and therefore become useless collections of unactionable and irrelevant factoids. His book focuses, however, on television, which reinforces a lot of the bad things the telegraph created, and adding new, even worse, ones.

The smartphone, I think, is a collection of all these bad things put into one device. It's a shame Postman didn't live to write another book specifically on digital technology.

For those interested in diving deeper into his argument, here's the book (which is a classic for a reason): https://quote.ucsd.edu/childhood/files/2013/05/postman-amusing.pdf
 

NickK

Robin
Thank you ilostabet, exactly my thoughts, beautifully put.
Another thing about writing. Our Lord did not write a single word. Instead He talked to people. He said "be careful how you listen".
There was no writing in Paradise, it only became a thing after the Fall, because the human mind lost much of its capacity to retain oral knowledge. That the Bible exists is because of the love God has for His fallen creature.
 

stugatz

Pelican
I want a dumb phone again and am trying to ease into it. Recently, I got a last-generation iPhone from a friend (he got a new one and gave me his old one, as he didn't need it anymore). Since Apple doesn't allow you to put in external micro SD cards, I pretty quickly had to get used to not carrying my entire music collection around with me.

I've since gotten a minimalist MP3 player and love how I now don't need to have a soundtrack to cooking dinner, shaving, and showering.

I'm still addicted to YouTube, though, and need to keep that to the computer or apps that connect to my TV...

The only thing I'm going to miss is stuff like Uber, or the ability to look up bus/train schedules at the push of a button.
 

westernman

Sparrow
I would do this if I had a wife and an in-person social circle. Doing it as a single young man today seems like a recipe for living as a total loner.
 

Red Wings

Pigeon
I would do this if I had a wife and an in-person social circle. Doing it as a single young man today seems like a recipe for living as a total loner.
Why? Because you couldn’t use dating apps? Internet dating does not work. It’s an attention system for women. Try to meet people in the real world doing real things you will get much more satisfaction than ephemeral superficial online chat-lationships.
 
All cell phone networks are useless, should just go back to localized pockets of communication. All technological-based communications are what caused this. I say screw em, get rid of your phone and get your crew tight. Use amateur radio set up and stop pestering people every 5 minutes with stupid questions, people used to figure things out on their own and would only bother communicating to others when they couldn't further problem-solve on their own. The current devices have dumbed us all down below the sapience of an english villager from the middle ages.
 
There is an inverse correlation of how easy it is to communicate, and the frequency of quality communication. Pre-internet when long distance calls were expensive, people wrote letters. Letter writing was taught in schools. People used to look forward to personal letters from friends and relatives showing up in the mailbox. I still have letters that my grandparents and mother wrote me.

Back when long distance was expensive (you used to subscribe to plans where Sprint or MCI or whoever would let you call domestic for 60 minutes for $10 a month (or was it 20$? and that was on top of land line service) and then it cost maybe $0.05 a minute thereafter, so long as you called after 7:00PM. As expensive as it could be back then, people used up their minutes. People used to have long conversations on the phone.

Email came along and people thought great, we can communicate better. Well, in the beginning people did write good emails, then they got shorter, started being sent to groups instead of individuals, and then they sort of died off, other than a few lines on a rare occasion. People still re-read letters that men who did not pass the eighth grade wrote during the Civil War--could you pay anyone enough to read what few personal emails go around in 2021? Now email is mainly junk mail, and hardly anyone sends letters, postcards, or cards through the postal service.

Long distance became basically free about when text messaging came around. So those long conversations that one paid for every month, basically went away. Instead we have vapid, usually pointless text messages of a few words or abbreviations. One wonders if people could accidentally text each other for a few days before figuring it out, because they are probably sending the very same texts as everyone else.

Used to when people wanted to learn about something they got a book. Now they click here and there on YouTube and some stuff is OK there, but not nearly the depth that a good book would have on the subject. I like watching videos by South Main Auto on car repair, and they are good, but it occurred to me I could learn more in the same hours if I just read a used auto mechanics textbook. If a person was interested in current events or the latest developments of something they would subscribe to a print journal. There is simply no comparison to click-baity news stories that were typed in ten minutes before publishing, to a 10 page article that was worked on for a month then screened through editors.

When we got social media, we stopped being social. Belonging to a bowling league, the PTA, the local historical society, a small group at church, etc.--that was normal, practically universal behavior. Everyone knew their neighbors, and likely spent time with them. But it was traded for being able to type "LOL" on Facebook posts and fume at the political rants of someone barely remembered from high school. Used to, that circle of people would support themselves, not by clicking on sappy emojis, but by actually showing up in person and doing something.

Kids, instead of spending hours a day on electric devices, used to do things like read, bike around, even do things like set up and play elaborate role playing games with friends.

People have mentioned iPods and such, and sure, I have an MP3 player myself. But if a person has never listened to entire albums they are missing out. Try listening to entire albums, there are gems on the B side and used to some albums were crafted so one song would lead to another. Strange as it sounds, I still had all the old cassette tapes I had in the 1990's, mostly never played after I went to CDs in the late 1990's. Bought a used tape player to hook up to the stereo, and it has been great fun listening to those old tapes. There is something wrong about only listening to the "best of" everything. More depth to entire albums end to end.

I could go on, but all this smart technology is a curse on the human race. Everything it is supposed to do, it only casts a shadow of what it is supposed to do, while it really charges headlong towards the opposite of what it promised.
 
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