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"I bought a flip phone and tried to get by without my smartphone. Here's how that went."

Accepted submission by SomeGuy at 2024-02-08 02:34:53 from the scary-that-not-using-a-smart-phone-is-news dept.

Seth Lavin, a school principal in Chicago, reports his experience switching from a smart phone [] in this opinion piece that originates from the LA Times.

About three months ago, I bought a flip phone and turned off my smartphone for good. [...] [A student] asks, "Why did you put yourself on punishment?" But I do not feel punished. I feel free.

Kids and their phones are different - closer - since COVID. [...] Teachers said they could sense kids' phones distracting them from inside their pockets.

We banned phones outright, equipping classrooms with lockboxes that the kids call "cellphone prisons." It's not perfect, but it's better. A teacher said, "It's like we have the children back." [...]

And what about adults? Ninety-five percent of young adults now keep their phones nearby every waking hour, according to a Gallup survey; [...]

We want children off their phones because we want them to be present, but children need our presence, too. [...] Every year, I see kids get phones and disappear into them. I don't want that to happen to mine. I don't want that to have happened to me.

So I quit. And now I have this flip phone.

What I don't have is Facetime or Instagram. I can't use Grubhub or Lyft or the Starbucks Mobile App. I don't even have a browser. I drove to a student's quinceaƱera, and I had to print out directions as if it were 2002.

[...] I can still make calls, though people are startled to get one. I can still text. And I can still see your pictures, though I can "heart" them only in my heart. [...]

Turning off my smartphone didn't fix all my problems. But I do notice my brain moving more deliberately, shifting less abruptly between moods. I am bored more, sure - the days feel longer - but I am deciding that's a good thing. And I am still connected to the people I love; they just can't text me TikToks.

It's hard to imagine a revolution against the smartphone, though there are glimmers of resistance. [...] Twelve percent of adults recently told Gallup that their smartphones make life worse, up from 6% in 2015.

But I'm not doing this to change the culture. I'm doing this because I don't want my sons to remember me lost in my phone.

Original Submission