Disconnecting from the manipulation.
‘DUMB PHONE’ RESURGENCE
Studies show that the average Australian is set to spend 17 years of their life on their smartphone (5.5 hours per day) — a dire statistic that demonstrates just how these devices have infiltrated lives.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Enter the rise of “dumb phones”: basic handsets that do the bare minimum.
They call, text, take low-pixel photos, and come with minimal or zero internet connectivity — facilitating a digital detox from the modern world insanity.
Google searches for ‘dumb phones’ increased by 89 per cent between 2018 and now, cementing their resurgence as an alternative to the grip of smartphone technology.
Notably it’s Gen Z, most of whom only briefly remember the low-fi devices from the first time around (like myself), who are leading the renaissance.
Growing up tethered to their smartphones, there is a clear trend now that is craving a break from the 24/7 connectedness and the temptations of carefully-designed algorithms.
“I think you can see it with certain Gen Z populations — they’re tired of the screens,” said Jose Briones, moderator of the subreddit, “r/dumbphones.”
“They don’t know what is going on with mental health and they’re trying to make cutbacks.”
The only problem is unlike the models of the past, the 2G network has been disconnected, so these modern ‘dumb phones’ still do run on the upgraded networks if you wish to use internet.
So, it is still recommended to follow all EMF safety protocols if you do, which is much easier.
Other than that, however, the intense levels of mass tracking and mindless distraction are gone.
I first heard about these phones after Keanu Reeves revealed he preferred old-school devices.
I had assumed they had all but died after the end of the 2G network, but they are still around.
Companies like HMD Global, the maker of the infamous Nokia brick phones, continues to sell millions of mobile devices similar to those used in the early 2000s.
I picked up a Nokia 8210 from Big W for only $119 (this is not a sponsorship), and it is great if you just want to play Snake, listen to MP3s, and make calls or texts with a basic SIM card.
It is much easier to shield from EMF concerns under the 4G/5G network if you do need to use the internet, and many of the settings do not include mass data gathering.
You can find a whole bunch of other model recommendations in this article.
Even better — the battery life of these devices is just how you remember them. Very long-lasting.
It is now great to see others in Gen-Z (1996-2016) stepping away from smartphone devices that are specifically designed to manipulate perceptions and emotions, in addition to being a spying device.
THE BLACK MIRROR
After the first iPhone was released in 2007, the world was never the same again.
I remember the shift when, as a young boy in high school, smartphones took over the blackberry and flip generation, and there was a noticeable decline in all social elements you could measure.
Today, studies have proven that teens who spend too much of their time with their smartphones are more prone to stress, anxiety, depression and other mental health problems.
Studies have also found that young adults who use smartphones after the lights have been turned out experienced increased tiredness and are reported to be awake an extra 46 minutes per week.
Moreover, the blue light emitted by the phone screens (the “black mirror”) has been found to lower the levels of melatonin, thus interrupting the sleep cycle.
Not just that, but the same lights have also been found to manipulate the nervous system.
A Pew Research Centre survey involving teens aged 13 and 17 revealed that 44% of teenagers check their phones as soon as they are awake, and about 56% of the teens link the absence of their mobile phone with loneliness, being upset, or feeling anxious.
According to Tom Kersting, author of “Disconnected: How to Protect Your Kids From the Harmful Effects of Device Dependency”.
“Teens are addicted to phones because the content from social media is designed that way.
Developers create powerful algorithms that intentionally target the pleasure-seeking part of the brain that produces dopamine. This part of the brain is tied to every addiction. Teens are essentially chasing dopamine 24 hours a day and don’t even realize it.”
Increased use of cell phones is also said to cause vision problems in teenagers. As per one study conducted on medical students, 83% of them were found to have “cell phone vision syndrome“.
This can include eye stress, redness, burning sensation, blurred vision, and dry eyes.
In short, excessive usage of cell phones surpasses their usefulness and creates new problems. While you may not stop your teenager from using a cell phone, it is possible to limit the harms.
‘Dumb phones’ are a good place to start. For them, and for adults.
And, if for any reason we want to be on these apps, make sure to do it from a wired computer. All of them can be accessed via internet browsers instead of these tracking devices in pockets.
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