NROP: Smartphone addiction – How to take back control.

While I think that most of you remember the times without cell phones, I wonder how many of you could imagine going back to those times. Personally, I do not think I would struggle too much without my smartphone. My laptop on the other hand… that might be tougher. However, because I try not to be too dependant on anything, I would be willing to give any challenge a go, if properly motivated.

If you feel like you are attached to your phone a little too much and would like to see if you can survive without it, but cannot find a reason to test yourself like that, you might want to check out Frontier’s challenge. They are willing to pay someone $1,000 for not using their smartphone for a week. There is one rule – ditch your smartphone for a week and get paid a grand.

Do not fret, the company is not trying to leave you completely helpless. You will get to use a flip phone during that week away from your smartphone. Moreover, they will provide one lucky winner with a care package, which is to include a map (to make up for the lack of GPS), a pocket phonebook (so you can write down all those important numbers you do not know by heart), a note pad and a pen (so you can take notes and make lists), and some CDs with 90s music (in place of Spotify and Pandora).

You can apply at the above link. To increase your chances of getting such a unique job opportunity, you should have a decent social media presence and be willing to vlog about your smartphone – less experience. I decided against applying because I believe my experience would not be much different than my normal everyday life, but most importantly because I do not vlog. If you apply and win, please let me know so I can follow your journey.

To me, a cell phone is primarily a device used to make calls. However, I do realize that texting has become so much more popular than calling.

[Source]

In 2016, on average, each American sent and received 94 text messages per day. It is my assumption that the number only went up, since. I blame our providers a little. Back in the day, I was charged for every text I sent. In the US, I was charged for every text I sent AND received. How crazy was that? Yes, I would tell people to stop texting me unless it was urgent and could not wait until the next time we would meet. I absolutely hated when they insisted on texting “OK”. Now, we have unlimited texting, so people do not care about how many texts they send. That is why we get messages containing a single word or an emoji. And then another. And another. I am a fan of a single, concise text.

The people in the company I work for have nothing against using their personal cell phones for work. In fact, they strongly encourage it and look funnily at those who do not share that preference (i.e. me). I refuse to have emails synced to my phone because I do not need to be stressed all day every day. It seems to me that because of cell phones, we are expected to be reachable every minute of every day. To me, it sounds a little bit like a prison.

However, there are companies that appreciate and encourage time away from technology. Just recently, on the radio, I heard about a company paying its employees $7,000 to go on vacation. Yes, you read that right. They pay YOU to go on vacation. Their only conditions are that you go “off the grid” and leave work behind. It sounds like a dream to me, but not everyone can live without their phone and Internet access for a prolonged period of time. Unfortunately, as I was trying to find the name of the company to share with you, I only found an article from 2016. It gives you the company’s name, but I am not sure if the “get paid to go on vacation” is still the case three years later.

Wherever you go, if you look around, you will see plenty of people looking at their cell phones. It turns us into zombies. If you have not read a piece I wrote on this topic in the past, feel free to do so now.

If you are up for it, I would urge you to take a step back and objectively assess your smartphone use. As you go on with your day, write down what you use your phone for. Is it to make calls? Is it for texting? Are you swiping left/ right? Do you receive and respond to emails on your cell phone? Is it social media that is the main source of your phone’s battery drainage?

At the end of the day, make a list of all the things you would like to do in the next day or two. Once done, put it aside and carry on with your day. Repeat what you did the previous day – i.e. note what you use your phone for. As an added bonus, write down how much time you spend on each category (calls, texts, dating apps, games, etc.).

As you get back home, pull out that list you wrote the night before. Have you accomplished everything you wanted to do? Chances are the answer will be: “No”. I know – sometimes there are things on that list that we just cannot accomplish right away. However, sometimes we blame the lack of time for our less than ideal choices and mistakes. Check your cell phone log that you would have kept for two days by then. Did you have to spend all that time on those things? Could you have maybe spent it on some of the things on your “to – do list”?

Did your phone usage make you feel happy and whole? Maybe you should just go outside instead of sitting with your phone in hand next time?

Real life is a way better adventure than virtual reality.

How many texts do you send/ receive on a daily basis?

What do you use your phone for the most?

Could you give up your smartphone for a week?

Do you think you might be addicted to your phone?

What would it take for you to ditch your smartphone for a few days?

Stay golden,

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46 thoughts on “NROP: Smartphone addiction – How to take back control.

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  1. I definitely can live without my cell phone. Past times I couldn’t because I loved writing on my phone but now I use a book and pen for my writing. The cell phone is just for my blog, social media which I’m no longer addicted to and messages.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad to hear that you aren’t as tied to social media as you were in the past.
      I also like writing on paper better.
      Anything that is longer than a couple of words is too long to write on that tiny phone keyboard.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I could give up my smartphone but the convenience of having music, navigation, news, movies, heart and blood pressure monitoring would bring me back after a few days. Most people use them for everything but talking. The world won’t go back. My dad asked me yesterday where could he buy cassette tapes so he could record a meeting. I said why bother? Just go to voice recorder on your smartphone and record the meeting. Convenience will keep the smartphone in use for a long time.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Reading your (and some of the other) comment, I was reminded of packing for a trip. There were so many different things that one had to pack to make sure one had it all. Now, the phone takes care of most of those.

      I cannot deny that convenience. I just like to make sure that I could live without it. That is something was to happen to it, I would not fall apart (like some people).

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hmm, I don’t have a smartphone. I do have a cell phone that’s around 10 or 12 years old but it’s usually switched off. I use a landline phone and talk to people face to face, it’s a lot more sociable! But if a company wants to pay out $1000 a week for not using a smartphone I’d be the first in line!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m actually slightly surprised by how you live. Kudos to you.
      I have my first smartphone, and I hate how they are only made to last a couple of years. Why would I need to change my phone every 2 years if it works? They often make it so that you cannot easily get to the battery. Once the battery starts giving out, it is time for a new phone. And the phones aren’t cheap. Absolute insanity.
      Here in the US, people are moving away from landlines. I don’t know of any young people who move out of the house and get a landline.
      Because people are so used to texting (and emojis), they do not like talking on the phone at all. And it does translate to real life. People meet, exchange smiles and then spend most of their times looking at their phones.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I would win this hands down. I hardly ever even use my phone, let alone carry it with me. I think part of the reason why I don’t use it so much is to be a rebel and a renegade. EVERYONE else seems to live and die by their smart phone, and I really could care less about it. So many people just find that so hard to believe that I don;t use my smart phone, but I don’t. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You made me laugh with the “let alone carry it with me”. I used to just run out to the corner store without it, but then realized that there might be time when I need the phone precisely because I am away from home. I remember locking myself out of my apartment. With no phone. That was interesting. I especially worry about elderly/ sick people in my family. Having a phone does you no good, if you leave it behind at home.

      People say: “I just texted you…”, or “I just emailed you” and I go: “Cool. I haven’t seen it yet” and their eyes widen in horror that my phone is not glued to my hands.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I know. it freaks people out when you tell them you don’t use your cell phone that much. I admit, there are times when it comes in handy; locking yourself out of the apt., would certainly be one of those times, but more so than not, it is just a nuisance. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I can understand and relate to that part, as I have people scattered around the world, too. Chatting ups definitely make things easier for some, but I am still a fan of Skyping on the computer.

      Like

  5. How many texts do you send/ receive on a daily basis?

    I’m not a big texter – I prefer talking on the phone…it’s much more efficient. I’d guess I average around 10 texts per day.

    What do you use your phone for the most?

    Browsing social media and checking email. On vacation, I use my phone mostly for taking photos/videos and navigation.

    Could you give up your smartphone for a week?

    No, but only because my cell number is tied to my side gig.

    Do you think you might be addicted to your phone?

    No. I live life in person a lot. I fill the gaps with my cell phone and am grateful for it.

    What would it take for you to ditch your smartphone for a few days?

    A standalone MP3 player for my car and a digital camera. I’d miss having everything I need in one device though – it’s compact and convenient!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m glad someone mentioned the efficiency of phone calls. I get annoyed when I receive a million follow-up texts. Just call me and we will have all of this solved in no time. And calls decrease the risk of miscommunication, too.

      Photos and navigation is what I use my phone for while on vacation, too. But I do not do social media or emails on it at all.

      It sounds like you could not give up your number, but you could give up your smartphone. The alternative – a flip phone can still store the same phone number.

      MP3 player and a camera seem about right. I actually still use my portable MP3 player when out and about. It weighs much less than my phone. But I do not miss having to pack so many different things (CD player, camera, etc.) when going on a trip.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Because I like challenging myself. I like options and backup plans. Because I see how easy it is to mess someone’s day up. I like to be prepared.

      How would you react if your phone got damaged or stolen?

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Aha! I haven’t got a smartphone. Though if I did… I would probably be a texter. And anyway, there are other electronics that dominate my time, so I’m not exactly sinless. But I plead millennialism. Or, whatever the generation after that is called.
    I think aiming to be free of such dependence is admirable, but unlikely. It’s a part of our lives now, and so has taken on a life of its own. I don’t even really remember a time without computers and cell phones. How long until kids grow up, only distantly aware of a time without virtual reality, or whatever it is they come up with next? It’s unavoidable. For better or worse, it will be what it will be, and all the paid phoneless vacations in the world won’t stop it. Though, they might be kind of fun. 😆

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It just makes me feel old. It’s not that I don’t like the technological progress we’ve made. I really like electricity and would not like to go back to reading by candlelight all day every day. But I feel like every aspect of said progress comes with some side effects, and the usage of smartphones in particular. I wouldn’t want everyone to just stop using them, but to acknowledge what they are doing to us, and try to … slow it down a bit.

      I read “paid phone…” and I was reminded of pay phones on the streets years back. I remember having lost my phone and panicking, because there were no payphones around and people were very weary about lending me their phone to call my family. I just hope people remember SOME of the important numbers, without having to rely on their phones.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Mmm. I think I understand. You don’t want or expect folks to all go Amish; you just hope we don’t lose ourselves and forget what’s important. Like certain phone numbers…

        Hehe. Every time we see a payphone in a tv show or the like, my mom likes to point it out and make sure we know what it is. “We know, mom.” ” We watch tv, mom.” 🙄😛

        Liked by 2 people

  7. I agree about the prison part.

    [1] How many texts a day? Depends. Sometimes none. Sometimes 15+.
    [2] The most? As a camera. Second most? WordPress. I DO read a lot.
    [3] Give it up for a week? If I had a REAL camera.
    [4] Addicted? Nah. I’ve gone a couple of days with it on the table, connected to the charger and I’m doing other things. I still miss my Alias II flip phone. The ONLY reason I’m still not using that is because the battery gave up (wouldn’t hold a charge) and I couldn’t find any replacements (forced into the stupidphone arena…kicking & screaming). I was NOT happy when I bought my S5. “It costs HOW MUCH?” AND, the only reason I have an S7, now, is because my stupid S5 went bad before I even paid it off!
    [5] What would it take? A really good camera. I don’t talk on this thing. I never put it up to my head. I talk on it like a walkie-talkie when I have to…which is rare. WordPress can wait until I’m on my PC or Laptop.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Reading & replying. I am a voracious reader. I’m hacking this out on it right now. I will be on my laptop later.

        I don’t post from my phone. I tried that…once. That made me want to scream. This app throws in way too much useless HTML code that I wind up having to go back & clean up via my laptop or PC. Unnecessary duplication of effort.

        Third use? MP3 player.

        If I am home, landline. I will still burn up a phone line for a chat. But, have a lengthy convo on this radiated piece of tech…no way. I will text on it…to a point. An in-depth convo is either going to be in person, on the home phone or an email on the computer. I will read emails on this thing & reply a short answer but, long ones? Computer.

        This thing has its uses and it can be convenient…but I’m no fool when it comes to the radiation this thing puts out. I have a healthy respect for its inherent dangers.

        The last pay telephone I ever saw was when I was in Examiner school in early 2015 in an area of my state commonly referred to as “Bumf*** Egypt”. The entire town, what there is of it, revolves around this training school (mostly for law enforcement but, Examiners are forced there, too…might as well be Alcatraz in a desert setting). This thing actually still worked. I *guess* it is still there.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I tried the app once because I was messing around with picture uploading. If I snap a photo with my phone, it’s easier to post it while on the app than to transfer the photo onto the computer and THEN post. But then I realized that I do not use too many (if any) original photos.

          Then, I downloaded it when I was out of town and was bored in between engagements/ at the airport. You’re right – to reply here or there is OK, but a longer comment, or writing/ reading a longer post? No way.

          Liked by 1 person

  8. This is such a great post! I think more and more people are starting to realize that smartphone and tablet usage is getting out of hand. There’s a point where devices are helpful and make things easier, but we’re starting to cross the fine line of helpful to harmful.
    I recently saw a video that offered practical suggestions to reduce usage of devices. Here’s a link: https://www.jw.org/finder?wtlocale=E&docid=502016296&srcid=share

    Liked by 1 person

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Rachael Ritchey

Worlds of Fiction

from famine to feast

recovery and growth, things that interest me, occasional deep-thoughts, and semi-regular poetry

Skeptical Heartism

Views from a skeptical heart

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