Breaking free of smartphone addiction: free your mind, wallet, and autonomy

I was a late adopter of the so-called smartphone. I didn't want to constantly be "available" but I was eventually persuaded by the mapping and photo features. Though I don't use it all that much and don't do social media except for HIVE on my computer, it has been an awful burden for me. Today, I have rid myself of the diabolical device.

Smartphones are bad for your health

There is extensive evidence that smartphone use is bad for:

My personal experience is that the smartphone created and fed a terrible fear-reward cognitive cycle that goes like:

  1. Experience a feeling of discomfort or anxiety
  2. Feel the need to "check" my phone
  3. Check my phone (look at email, read the news, scroll through a hunting and fishing forum)
  4. Temporarily displace the feeling of discomfort while I was looking at the phone
  5. When the feeling returns, often stronger, feel a stronger urge to check my phone.

cue infinite loop


Smartphones are bad for your wallet

Have you ever noticed that things are a lot more expensive than they used to be but supposedly inflation hasn't really increased in the last decade?

That is because the consumer price index is modified by the "hedonic quality adjustment." Wolf Richter explains this much better than I can, but to summarize technological innovations are excluded from measures of inflation. This means that, for example, even though a car may cost much more, if that difference is explained by improvements to the transmission, a backup camera, etc., it doesn't count as inflation. The problem is it is hard to find things that don't have these technological improvements (good luck finding a car that has minimal electronics) so the cost of living when hedonic quality has not been adjusted out is much higher than it used to be.

Smartphones are ubiquitous but are really, really expensive. On average a smartphone will cost you $75,000 over the course of your working years. This is much more than the total savings held by the average American consumer.

Smartphones are bad for your freedom

In the novel 1984, the State forced you to have a telescreen. Today, we line up in front of stores and shell out $2,000 for a device that tracks your location, your weather, tracks what you buy and won't you don't buy, passively monitors sounds including speech, can be easily engineered to serve as a surveillence grid of who went where and with whom. They are already used whips by our technocratic masters on us wage slaves. I have taken a peer-to-peer ride service a couple times. It was very sad. One time, the driver described to me how she retired from a professional job and moved to take care of her aging parents. But her retirement income couldn't keep up housing inflation, so here she was in her 70's taking orders from a talking phone.

A new future

I ordered a flip phone today. It will cost me $30 in cash and $25 a month for text and voice. The funny thing is I knew all this information but it took my smartphone breaking today to finally quit the addiction. Like Biblo with the Ring, I just couldn't give it up even though I knew it was bad for me. I quit smartphone use for 3 months in the fall, and I know what to expect. I already feel anxious like there is something I need to do. This will pass in a couple days. Then I will start to be more present with my co-workers and loved ones, read more, and love more people and things outside of myself.

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