What if we let phones be phones?

Serious question. 

What if we returned phones to their original purpose – simple 1:1 communication? 

What if we Ignored the massive computing power and global reach of the device in our hand? 

GenZ is leading the way

The teenagers in the Luddite Club in New York City actively reject modern technology – like Smartphones – fearing they are damaging to society. From an article in The Conversation:

Formed by a group of tech-disillusioned Gen-Zers, the club advocates the use of flip phones, crafting, hanging out in parks and reading hardcover or paperback books. Screens are an anathema to the group, which sees them as a drain on mental health.

While this may sound like a quaint teen-age protest to older adults, a couple Google searches indicates this may be the tip of an interesting cultural shift. 

Or merely a trend popularized by TikTok and YouTube influencers. 

Flip phones are the unplugged solution

Flip phones are having a renaissance moment, powered by GenZ consumers tired of always-connected lives and social media rabbit holes. 

Sales were up in 2022 as manufacturers catered to a market that wants a basic or “dumb” phone to reduce screen time. You can get a flip phone for as little as $30 and as much as a SmartPhone with all the bells and whistles. 

But that isn’t the point, right?

Suddenly our lives can get simpler

I covered tech companies in metro Detroit in the late 90s-early 2000s, which meant I learned a lot of interesting stuff.

I remember automotive tech engineers telling me that in the not too far distant future our phone numbers would be more important than our Social Security numbers for accessing personal data.

I’m rethinking how I use my devices. How would it work if each device had a designated function and purpose, rather than every device doing everything?

  • The desktop was for work, writing, research, email and social media
  • The tablet was for consuming content – videos, ebooks, courses – and communities
  • The phone was for calls, texts and GPS directions

Radical idea: Devices that support how we live

A function-based setup rather than a synchronous-connection setup would make it much easier to set time limits on device usage by their specific function. 

I might lose the convenience of taking pictures with my cell phone, but I’ve been wanting to get back to my Canon DSLR anyway, and that would get me outside more with my camera.

This unplugging thing just might be easier than we thought. 

3 Resources for You

2 Questions for You

Reflections, questions and ideas to consider to break the digital spell.

1st Q: Have you downgraded any of your devices? Tell us more.

2nd Q: Would you consider a dumb phone if it reduced your screen time?

Hit reply and let me know what you discovered this week. I’ll use some of your feedback in next week’s newsletter (first name only.)

Reflection Feedback

Sounds of Nature is a trigger for several readers.

From Scott: Love this, Marsha. As a musician “sound” is something I’m dialed into. Nothing relaxes me more than the sound of steady rain and rolling thunder.

From Heather: I’m a forest gal, so my favorite nature sounds are the wind in the pines, followed closely by a trickling river. If I can get both, I’m in heaven (hence, why I like hiking and camping so much).

However, I have a strong memory attached to the medley of the birds of East Texas. Growing up in the city, I savored my trips to the country to stay at my grandparents’ cattle ranch. Weekends, spring breaks, holidays, and summers found me running loose across their 180 acres, building forts deep in the creek beds, climbing into deer stands high up in the pines, and fishing and swimming in the lake. Every morning, before my eyes opened, I could hear the birds singing outside my window, coupled with a consuming joy, knowing I was at my grandparents’ house.

From Rosemary: We have a terrace on the second floor with big doors that we can slide back. Sparrows have adopted the terrace as their home from home. They come there to eat our lettuces plus the bread we put out for them, to drink from our bowls of water, to fight for a mate and to indulge in what remarkably resembles teenage squabbling. The whole is accompanied by their persistent chirping, in song, in love, in complaints and in sociable companionship.

From Penny: I love living in the quiet, where I hear the sounds you’ve described.

1 Action for You

One small step to start the change.

Jot down the things you do with your phone that you could do or already do on other devices. Open up any options?

Hit reply, let me know how it goes and I’ll include feedback in next week’s newsletter.

Nature View

Being able to smell the fresh air and disconnect from the news and your phone—there’s nothing like it. – Jason Ward