Dunvegan Thought Spot

In the research The Dunvegan Group conducts to support our CCR (Customer Care & Retention) programs, we discover articles, blog posts and videos which, although not directly related to our work, are thought provoking or concern matters you may want to think about.  ‘Thought Spot’ covers a broad range of subjects.

The posts in ‘Thought Spot’ are selected by Olev Wain, Ph.D., VP of The Dunvegan Group. 

We welcome your feedback!


 

 

Smart Phone Addiction – Going “Cold Turkey”

Writing on theguardian.com on February 11 2016, Jenna Woginrich describes life after getting rid of her mobile communication device 18 months ago. Here is an edited excerpt:

The phone rings: it’s my friend checking to see if I can pick her up on the way to a dinner party. I ask her where she is and as she explains, I reach as far as I can across the countertop for a pen.

I scribble the address in my trusty notebook I keep in my back pocket. I tell her I’ll be at her place in about 20 minutes. Then I hang up. Literally.

I take the handset receiver away from my ear and hang it on the weight-triggered click switch that cuts off my landline’s dial tone.

I take my laptop, Google the address, add better directions to my notes and head outside and drive over. If I get lost on the way, I’ll need to ask someone for directions. If she changes her plans, she won’t be able to tell me or cancel at a moment’s notice. If I crash on the way, I won’t be calling 911.

I’m fine with all of this. As you guessed by now, I haven’t had a cellphone for more than 18 months.

I didn’t just cancel cellular service and keep the smartphone for Wi-Fi fun, nor did I downgrade to a flip phone to “simplify”; I opted out entirely. There is no mobile phone in my life, in any form, at all.

Arguably, there should be. I’m a freelance writer and graphic designer with many reasons to have a little computer in my holster, but I don’t miss it. There are a dozen ways to contact me between email and social media. When I check in, it’s on my terms.

“My phone” has become “the phone”. It’s no longer my personal assistant; it has reverted to being a piece of furniture – like “the fridge” or “the couch”, two other items you wouldn’t carry around with you.

I didn’t get rid of it for some hipster-inspired luddite ideal or because I couldn’t afford it. I cut myself off because my life is better without a cellphone.

I’m less distracted and less accessible, two things I didn’t realize were far more important than instantly knowing how many movies Kevin Kline’s been in since 2010 at a moment’s notice. I can’t be bothered unless I choose to be. It makes a woman feel rich.

When friends found out, I was told it was as insane a decision as leaving a rent-controlled apartment.

But I was tired of my world existing through a black screen and even more tired of being contacted whenever anyone (or any bot) felt like it.

I was constantly checking emails and social media, or playing games. When I found out I could download audiobooks, the earbuds never left my lobes. I was a hard user. I loved every second of it.

I even slept with my phone by my side. It was what I fell asleep watching, and it was the alarm that woke me up. It was never turned off.

It got so bad that I grew uncomfortable with any 30-second span of hands-free idleness. I felt obligated to reply to every Facebook comment, text, tweet, and game request.

As an author I wrote it all off as reader interaction, free publicity and important grassroots marketing. These were the justifications of a junkie; I was an addict at risk of losing myself completely

I made the decision to break up with my device and I did it “cold turkey”.

I’ve been clean a year and a half now, and I’m doing fine. I get plenty of work, I don’t miss invitations, and I’m no longer scared of my own thoughts.

I got a landline and I got more sleep. I look people in the eye. I eat food instead of photographing it. My business, social life, and personal safety have not evaporated overnight either.

Turns out a basic internet connection and laptop is plenty of connectivity to keep friends informed, weekends fun and trains running on time. And while I might be missing out on being able to call 911 at any moment, it’s worth the sacrifice to me.

I’m glad to be back in the world again. It beats waiting for the notification alert telling me that I exist.

Your thoughts?

Image courtesy of Georgijevic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Relevant links:  

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/feb/11/smartphone-technology-addiction-facebook-twitter

https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/07/06/screen-addiction-is-taking-a-toll-on-children/?_r=0

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