Dumbphones Are Not The Answer To Smartphone Addiction

Dumbphones Are Not The Answer To Smartphone Addiction

We look at the constantly rising numbers for smartphone adoption and just sort of assume that sooner or later, everyone’s going to get on board with this thing. But there are some people, young people, who are sticking to dumbphones, and cutting ties with their smartphones. And it’s kind of dumb.

Here’s the basic thrust of the Times’ piece:

Though my phone elicits stares…I’m just one member of a small but hardy contingent (a convoy, if you will) of smartphone holdouts, people who seem like the ideal iPhone owner (under 40, urban, professional) but shun it and its app-friendly cousins for a low-tech “dumbphone.”

Yep. Pretty insufferable.

The thing is, yes, smartphone overuse is a real issue. But trading that in for another, less capable mobile device doesn’t solve it. It just creates a different kind of disadvantage.

When you dump your smartphone for a more primitive model, you’re losing real, valuable, potentially essential tools — maps, search, email when you actually need email. During a disaster, like a local tornado warning, a Twitter app could potentially save your life.

Of course a smartphone can be overused. But the answer isn’t just tying off an artery and amputating the damn thing. Just change your routine, or your settings, to filter out the noise.

The more bizarre side of the backlash is the sight of people using accessories to make their smartphones look like extremely primitive telecom machines. This is the dumbphones-are-the-new-typewriters side. The NYT story points out that Urban Outfitters sells an obnoxious retro-80s-iPhone case. But really, why stop there? People have been trying their darnedest to make a smartphone look stupid for a long time.

If you don’t want distraction, just disconnect completely. Using a dumbphone to seem above the fray is worse than even the most idiotic smartphone accessory. [NY Times via The Times Is on It via Drew Magary]

Original Image Credit: Sally Ryan and Emily Berl for New York Times