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My Summer Without a Smartphone
“I got rid of my iPhone.” Whenever someone hears me say, they respond with, “What kind of Android phone did you get?” When I tell them that I didn’t get a new smartphone but instead switched to a dumb phone, they are dumbfounded. With mouths hanging slack and a disbelieving gaze, they stare at me like I suddenly grew a third eye in the middle of my forehead. After a flabbergasting moment of legitimately not knowing what to say, almost everyone stammers out a confused, “That’s good for you, but I could never do that.”
I’m not so sure.
There are a few reasons why I wanted to upgrade my life by downgrading my phone. But the biggest is simply that I wanted more of my life back. Smartphones are like social media—designed to be addictive. They’re overpriced, overpowered, and overused.
I realized over the past year that one reason I struggle to focus during prayer without distraction was because of the constant stream of content that was coming through my phone. Our brains have been conditioned to endlessly and mindlessly scroll through video after video after picture after post after post after post after photo after video after video after meme after video after video… you get the idea. We are losing the ability to think for longer than three minutes at a time or comprehend anything beyond a headline, and that’s very scary.
I had been feeling the call to chuck my iPhone for a while when I heard an interview with Dr. Rosemary Stein, a pediatrician for the past 25 years and the director of the International Family Clinic. She was talking about a spike in autism-like symptoms among young children and new developmental hurdles in a post-covid world. When the interviewer asked Dr. Stein what parents need to do to help their children develop and grow healthily, she replied, “The first thing is that we need to disengage from our phones. While we’re on our phones and on our electronic devices, we’re not with our children, and our children need us more now than ever.”
Let’s not miss that. One of the most important things parents can do for their children is to put down their phones.
That interview was the final straw for me. I set out to replace my iPhone with a dumb phone. I read numerous reviews, watched plenty of videos, and finally settled on the Light Phone. Unlike Big Tech, the Light Phone company’s motto is “designed to be used as little as possible.”
The Light Phone has no email, no web browser, no YouTube, no social media, and no clickbait news. What does it have? You can make phone calls and send and receive text messages.
Wait, that’s it?
Well, isn’t that the point? Go light, use your phone as little as possible, and enjoy your life more!
Yes, the Light Phone has a few other tools, and ultimately, that is why I chose the Light Phone over another great dumb phone designed with some extra features for parents—the Wisephone.
This post is already too long. If you’d like to read more about my experience using a dumb phone for a few months, the challenges, the advantages, and the “I wish I’d known X before making this switch,” I’ve written a series of articles you can access below. I should also note that I am not an affiliate for Light Phone or anything else. I was not asked to write about my experience or review the Light Phone, nor did I receive any remuneration or benefit for doing so.
I’ll wrap this one up by saying I don’t regret my decision to dump my smartphone. It’s not the magic pill that cures all the hangups in life. But it was a piece of the puzzle for me. I can’t say that I’ll never again own a smartphone. But I can say that I’m happy without one.