You too need a dumbphone

And maybe you already have one.

You too need a dumbphone /img/dumbphones.jpg

The Quest for a Dumber Phone describes the growing movement of people who believe we benefit as individuals and a collective by unplugging from internet-enabled technology, because “it physically makes a difference in our lives when we are tethered, in our eyesight and the way we feel."

Almost always, of course, the goal is not to give up “the internet” but only the physical, perpetual connection to social media, that is included (by social pressure) into every smartphone.

It’s easy!

That article does a good job to explain how and why many people live better when they aren’t obsessed by instant messaging and social media. Read it. But it could be much shorter, and more effective, when describing the solutions, because as things are now there are only two types of them for the average mobile phone user:

  • Just get a realdumbphone, that is a good old cellular phone. You can still use social media from an ordinary computer. The real problem is to make sure that such phones continue to be produced
  • Take the smartphone you already have or get one, possibly a used one, but then…
  1. If it’s Android, never activate its Google account
  2. Uninstall any of the applications that came with it, except the ones really necessary for making phone calls, using digital maps or for activities that do not require any internet connection, e.g. audio recording, photography, or listening to FM Radio
  3. Never, ever install any app
  4. Exceptions to previous point: mobile banking, or apps necessary for bureaucratic reasons, e.g. digital identification

Yes, it’s a waste of money to buy a miniature supercomputer and then only use 2% or less of its capabilities. But it’s not your fault if the market keeps attaching digitized dopamine dispensers to actually useful hardware, and your mental health and time are more important anyway.

And you can still use the Web and waste time on social media as much as you want from your laptop, or desktop computer. Yes, you’ll do it much less but that is the whole point, isn’t it?