rezzeJ:

These articles are always about how the author gave up their phone teetotal and it was such revelation in their life. And it implies it's this darn piece of technology that is the problem. But ultimately, the phone doesn't function without the user, so really the phone is exposing faults with the user rather than the other way around. So by taking the all or nothing approach, they don't actually solve the source of the issue, which is themselves.

This is highlighted by a passage from near the end of the article:

    But access is still there: when cell service is poor, or I need to check email, or want to video the kids, or get a photo from my wife, I fire the smartphone up. I get a quick shot of dopamine and I feel immediately guilty. So I do what I need and turn it off. I estimate I'm using the thing 65% to 80% less.

It's like: "don't look at the it in the eyes for too long, lest it sucker you in and turn you into an instant gratification zombie!" And the author continues to exist as someone who is prone to being exploited by the types of the mechanics that the technology uses. Granted, the apps have been purposely designed to exploit weaknesses in the human condition, as we've seen exposed in various articles over the last year or so. But those problems are still the person's. And with education, awareness, and discipline they can be overcome.

With regards to that, I think a more interesting article would be about an 'internet addict' who tries to deal with their problems with a more considered approach, rather than just banning themselves from using their smartphone. They could learn about what it that hooks them into the repetitive cycles and gain awareness of themselves and their tendencies. Then through this, they learn to use the technology responsibly and still reap all it's benefits, whilst also growing as a person.

I'm reminded of that episode of South Park where a 'miracle' statue doesn't cure Randy of his 'addiction' to social drinking, and there's this bit of dialogue between him and Stan:

    Randy: I'm sorry, son! I'm off the wagon!

    Stan: Dad, you don't have to do this! You have the power. You haven't drank since seeing the statue.

    Rand: But the statue wasn't a miracle!

    Stan: Yeah. The statue wasn't a miracle, Dad. So that means you did it. That means you didn't have a drink for five days all on your own.

    Randy: You're right, Stan. If God didn't make me stop drinking then... I did. Maybe... Maybe I can force myself to never drink again.

    Stan: No!

    Randy: No??

    Stan: Dad, you like to drink. So have a drink once in a while. Have two. If you devote your whole life to completely avoiding something you like, then that thing still controls your life and you've never learned any discipline at all.

    Randy: But, maybe... I'm just the kind of person who needs to have it all or nothing.

    Stan: Naw. All or nothing is easy. But learning to drink a little bit, responsibly, that's a discipline. Discipline comes from within.

Having said all that, I've been using a dumbphone for about 4 years. I used to own a much loved Nexus 4 until I dropped and broke it. I switched a to a dumbphone temporarily and then just never got around to upgrading. Though I do have a tablet which I guess heavily offsets not having a smartphone (though it doesn't have mobile data).

I'll tell you most annoying thing about dumbphones though. It's when those god-darn filthy smartphone using whippersnappers don't check their technological privilege and decide to send what should be a single message over about 10 separate lines using their fancy pants messaging apps. You know what happens? Each one comes through as an individual text message and clogs up the inbox of my dumb egg phone.


posted by rd95: 19 days ago