Smartphone Zombies No More
Yes, we have been without smartphone service for exactly a month now! We didn’t do it just for the savings of not having that extra bill. We didn’t do it just because we think our cell phones are listening to us. And no, we’re not considering joining the Amish.
Aaron is a self-admitted electronics addict. Over the years he has dealt with his share of getting lost in the world of video games. It has been one of the problems we have faced as a married couple. Read his post about it in The Steward Model, Traditional Value In Today’s Culture. This was one of the biggest reasons we considered getting rid of our smartphones. He and I both felt that in order to return to a more traditional life we had to remove some of the modern distractions. Without our smartphones, we have finally been able to focus that time we wasted on more important things.
The Negative Side of Modern Tech
I’m not alone in experiencing the damaging effects of video game addiction. Many people have had to experience the pain of being neglected due to a spouse getting caught up in the lure of the escapism of electronic games. Now, don’t get me wrong I am a self-proclaimed gamer as well, Ocarina of Time is one of my all-time favorites! The difference is I know when to turn it off, it does not interfere with my relationships or life. Like any addiction, it only becomes a problem when the user is self-medicating with it, using as a way to escape their problems and the world. And ignoring everything in their life because of that escapism.
How does this relate to smartphones you ask? Well, because this addiction is no longer limited to just computers or video game consoles. Smartphones have tons of games and apps that can provide that same mind-numbing escape. Many people who don’t play video games are instead choosing Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest as their drug of choice. Let me be clear, I have absolutely no problem with these apps (we use them here at Making It Home to reach our audience), but like anything else, they should be used in moderation. I would rather you spend an hour with your kids playing outside than on my Instagram feed for Making It Home.
The other problem is this addiction is becoming more widespread. I drove downtown the other day on a beautiful sunny day and 80% of the people I saw walking down the street had their phone in their face!
What is Life Like Now Without Our Smartphones?
Honestly, we still use them for work. As an iPhone user, I can still text and facetime other iPhone users as long as I am in range of wifi. Aaron and I can still both use all our apps, once again as long as we’re in wifi range. I know, you’re saying then what good did it do to get rid of our service? We only use our phones at home when we’re updating the website’s social media, taking pictures, or to message our daughter or my brother. We have stopped taking our phones with us when we go out for running errands or dates. You will never see us zombified while we walk around or spend time with family and friends. It has extremely limited our use and now we spend time focusing on the more important things in our life.
There have been some interesting challenges and reactions as well. Many people I have encountered have expressed confusion and even extreme shock when I tell them I don’t have cell phone service. It has been quite entertaining I must admit. Other obstacles have been when I run errands I can’t message Aaron to let him know when I’ll be home or ask if he needs anything while I’m out. But there’s this neat thing where I can give him a good estimate before I leave and ask if he wants anything before I walk out the door. When Aaron’s at work if I leave the house and I know I won’t be home when he gets back, I do this really archaic thing and leave him a note on the fridge!
We did just fine surviving the first 30 years of our lives without smartphones and really don’t feel it’s a dramatic change. So we have to revert back to a couple older technologies; maps, notes, calendars, etc… we really feel the benefits outweigh the negatives. Something to think about.
I know some of you are wondering, what if there’s an emergency?!? Any cell phone whether it has service or not can dial 911. Years ago my older brother told me how he keeps an old flip phone in his glove box for just this purpose. He makes sure to check the battery once a month.
Another issue was literally untangling our lives from those dang phones! It’s rather scary to see just how much of your life is caught up in that little device! We had to make sure to change the authentication for our emails, change the phone numbers on numerous accounts, and our online banking still needed a number to text for password verification. We did end up having to get a google voice number to use for these things. But the good thing is we now use that for our business number and it’s totally free!
If you switch back to a landline you actually have to remember to check the voicemails anytime you return home. This has taken some getting used to.
Benefits to Getting Rid of Your Smartphone
- We now save over $100 a month switching to a landline
- You are not tempted to have your phone out during social occasions
- Time is spent on things more beneficial to your life
- Your friends and family have your full undivided attention
- The NSA is no longer listening in to your boring conversations
- You don’t have to worry about identity theft if you lose your smartphone
- Actually getting to use your brain again instead of relying on your phone (our memories have gotten better)
- Don’t have to worry about getting cancer from your phone
We Didn’t Drop Off the Face of the Planet
Ultimately, getting rid of our smartphone service was a personal choice. Aaron and I had many factors in our lives that made this a good decision for us. Our quality of life has increased and now we are no longer one of the zombified masses that walk around with a phone in our faces. You may be considering this as well, but be sure to do your research and see if the benefits outweigh the “inconvenience”. You could always do a baby step and start with downgrading to a dumb phone. This is just one more way you can return to a more traditional life and make things less complicated.