Buying a $300 'dumbphone' is not the Answer to Smartphone Addiction
Research suggests that there are correlations between smartphone usage and stress levels. In a response to the perceived negative threats of smartphones, one company has developed a product that removes many features of current smartphone technology. However, the positive effects of smartphones outweigh the perceived negative effects.
For people who want to reduce the amount of time they spend on their phone, the MP01 'dumbphone' developed by a Swedish company called Punkt Tronics AG phone may be a solution.
The MP01 phone is the opposite of a smartphone. It cannot access the internet or run any applications. The phone can only receive and transmit calls and text messages. It can be purchased for around $300 from the company's website.
The phone appears to be well designed aesthetically, but it has service issues and may only be used on GSM carriers. One Amazon review reports that "this phone has no reception on AT&T."
Not only does the phone have connection issues, phones with similar capabilities (or lack thereof) can be purchased from any leading carrier for a much affordable price and without reception issues. Take for example the selection Verizon offers of 'basic phones'.
According to a paper published by the American Psychological Institution, "more than eight in 10 Americans are attached to their gadgets on a typical day (86 percent say they constantly or often check their emails, texts and social media accounts)."
Smartphones add more stimulus into a persons life, which may increase a persons stress levels and decrease their ability to focus. Smartphones may also promote anti-social behavior. The devices create an option for people to socially opt out situations. People may prioritize attention to phones rather than social situations.
Despite the concerns, the smartphone has become a critical part of the current human condition. The host of the popular YouTube channel Unbox Therapy challenged himself to use the phone for a week but was unable to finish it. Here was his thoughts:
"The first couple of days I tell you, sunshine and lollipops and rainbows. I am standing in the line at Subway, and i'm paying attention to what is going around me. I'm not on my phone the whole time. When I wake up in the morning, i'm not grabbing my phone and laying in bed with my neck cranked up against the headboard for 48 minutes when I have other things to do.
But there was still this nagging feeling. It's just he way we are now. It truly is an extension of our consciousness whether you like it or not. That little drip you get every time you engage with it, all those emails you can't see, and all that information that is flowing is so hard to turn off.
So I am quitting this dumb phone challenge. I'm not saying it was a bad idea. But how can I get behind something that I know so obviously is not going to stick. The rest of the universe is moving along. I was was getting texted links. What good is a link without a browser?" [source]
Humanity has entered the information age, and to actively resist against is counter-productive. All of the perceived negative effects of smartphones can be cured with active self control. Moderation should be taken with all things.
Some individuals among older generations may look back with rose-tinted glasses at life without smartphones. 'Life was better off without being able to quickly communicate with one another', or 'I liked not being able to Google the answer to everything', they may think. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but these concerns are primarily nostalgic in root.