Reflections on reasons some people hold out against smartphones

I found this overview of reasons why some people haven’t yet adopted smartphones to be quite interesting having been one of “those people” up until a few months ago. Here are the five reasons given for why some people haven’t made the switch:

  • Fear of addiction. “I don’t want to end up falling victim to the smartphone, where I dive in and get lost for hours at a time,” dumbphone owner 24-year-old Jim Harig, 24 told The Times‘ Teddy Wayne.
  • The benefits of disconnectivity. “I also fear my own susceptibility to an e-mail-checking addiction,” writes Wayne. “The pressure to always be in communication with people is overwhelming,”  Erica Koltenuk tells the Journal‘s Sue Shellenbarger.
  • Cost. “These die-hards say they are reducing waste and like sidestepping costly service contracts,” writes Shellenbarger.
  • Durability. “I want a phone that you could drop-kick into a lake and go get it and still be able to make a call,” says Patrick Crowley, who bought a new phone 5 years ago.
  • Anti-consumerism. “[David] Blumenthal sees no need to ‘keep running out and buying new things if you can patch them and they hold together,'” explains the Journal.

Until this past December, I would have argued for the first three reasons. Here are my experiences of these three reasons in the four months I have had a smartphone:

1. Fear of addiction. I didn’t want to be a person who pulls out their phone at every dull moment. I don’t think I do this today but the phone is undeniably handy in several situations. Since I love learning and information, it is invaluable to be able to look things up. Also, in moments that where I would have been waiting already, say the barber shop or in line, I can quickly look things up and use my time well (what a rationalization…). Third, a smartphone is indispensable while traveling whether one needs a map, restaurant reviews, airline info, and more. I would say that addiction is hard to combat though.

2. Disconnectivity. I like the occasional experience of being disconnected. In fact, I think it is necessary to disconnect occasionally from all electronic/digital media. Here is my personal measure of addiction: if I can still enjoy a longer period of time (a few hours to a few days) without feeling a consistent need to check my phone, I’m in good shape. The smartphone should be a tool, not my life. The phone can enhance my interaction with others but it can also be a hindrance and I want to be mindful of this. Additionally, I have refused to connect my phone to my work email and I don’t want any apps that would allow me to do work through my phone.

3. Cost. I’m still irritated about this issue but there are cheaper options than the contract carriers. My wife and I got phones from Virgin Mobile and while it is not perfect, it is cheaper than any of the contract options. Perhaps this is simply the price of living in the modern world and considering that these phones are like little computers, it is a worthwhile investment.

All in all, the smartphone world is a nice one even if I have lost the “pride” mentioned in this article of being someone who can still hold out against the powerful forces of technology and consumerism. But I can still be part of the camp that relishes not having an iPhone

One thought on “Reflections on reasons some people hold out against smartphones

  1. Pingback: A sociologist on the iPhone at 5: “There has been no other device that has changed social and technological life in such a short time” | Legally Sociable

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