Could you live without daily electronic conveniences—Twitter, Facebook, email, texting and more—for 90 days?
You’re driving down a city street and find yourself stuck behind someone going 15 mph below the speed limit. What’s your first thought? That guy needs to get off his cell phone!
You’re sitting in the stands at a high school football game. You notice that many of the students are not only ignoring the game but they’re also ignoring the friends seated beside them—instead they are busy texting other friends.
You walk through an airport concourse and notice a man pacing back and forth, waving his hands while he talks on his cell phone in a voice that bounces off the walls 30 yards away. You think, That’s why I hope they never allow people to make calls with their cell phones on a flight.
Sound familiar? In the last 15 years the cell phone has conquered the world.
Aww the cell phone. That little device that we all feel so attached to. One of the few things that most of us feel like we can’t live without. We gotten to the point where it’s also strange not to own one. Try to name one person you know that doesn’t use one.
A tool our parents could not have imagined has become a lifeline we can’t do without. Not for a day—in most cases not even for an hour. In Time’s poll, 1 in 4 people check it every 30 minutes, 1 in 5 every 10 minutes. A third of respondents admitted that being without their mobile for even short periods leaves them feeling anxious. It is a form of sustenance, that constant feed of news and notes and nonsense, to the point that twice as many people would pick their phone over their lunch if forced to choose. Three-quarters of 25-to-29-year-olds sleep with their phones.
If Americans have developed surprisingly intimate relationships with their gadgets, they are still modest compared with people in other countries. The Time Mobility Poll found that 1 in 5 Americans has asked someone on a date by text, compared with three times as many Brazilians and four times as many Chinese. Fewer than 1 in 10 married U.S. respondents admitted to using texting to coordinate adultery, vs. one-third of Indians and a majority of Chinese. It may be shocking that nearly a quarter of all U.S. respondents—including a majority of 18-to-35-year-old men—have sent a sexually provocative picture to a partner or loved one. But that trails South Africans’ 45% and Indians’ 54%. Brazilians are especially exuberant, with 64% baring and sharing all.
As I recall, back in the B.C. days – “Before Cellphones” – we all somehow got along without being constantly connected, constantly available. Actually life was just fine without all those phone calls and apps.
Connie tells the following story……….I have used my cell phone almost continuously for the last 13 years. And now I use it for everything…driving directions, email, chat, text messaging, web browsing and of course calling people. It’s such a modern convenience that I think a lot of us take it for granted. I know it’ll be easy to give up outside the US, but will I need it when I come back home? I think that questioning my own needs is going to make me realize that I don’t really need what I think I need. Who really needs to check Facebook while their away from their computer? Who cares if someone emails me when I’m out. I’m sure it’ll be there when I get back.
Like most young people these days, my cellphone is my lifeline. Not only is is my preferred form of communication, but I have my entire life scheduled in my calendar and countless apps keeping track of everything from my calorie intake to spending habits. I love being organized and my Blackberry helps me take that to the extreme. Regardless, when I agreed to spend one day without my cellphone (and share the experience with all you text addicts), I thought that it would be no big deal.
Boy, was I wrong.
In the mornings, I usually wake up and grab my phone from my nightstand to see if I have any new texts or emails. After going through those, I get ready for work and periodically check my phone for any happenings. Instead, I woke up and just started getting ready. Surprisingly, I was all set for work about 15 minutes earlier and able to pop open my computer and browse the headlines that way.
Once I got to work, I had to explain to my boss that she wouldn’t be able to text or call my cell for the day. She thought the idea was neat but it quickly became clear that my lack of cellphone would put a dent in our day. I work in an office setting and sometimes have to run errands, which the cellphone is handy and/or necessary for. No one could touch base with my when I was outside of the office and while this wasn’t the norm a decade ago, now you’re expected to be available at all times. One perk (at least from my perspective) was not being disturbed on my lunch break. I could eat and read my book in peace!
After work, things became a bit more complicated. I wanted to check with my boyfriend and see if I should come by his house. I know his phone number by heart and gave him a call, but he didn’t answer. He was hanging out with his friend that day, so I figured that they were gaming and he didn’t notice his phone ringing. I tried again and still no answer. With my cell phone, I can text him and know that he will eventually get the message and respond when he can. Using a landline, I had to call him 4 times before he actually answered, which was frustrating. And then I started missing my phone.
I also missed the constant contact with my friends. I have a few friends who I am always texting and it was weird to not know what was happening in their lives from minute to minute. I suppose that it’s unhealthy to be so absorbed in other people’s business and drama, but I feel important when I’m a confidant. We could do all our talking on the phone, but it’s nice to have someone to vent to right after you get chewed out by your boss or have a yelling match with your BF.
Despite the fact that it was fairly easy to go through my daily routine without my cell, I truly missed it. In the afternoon, I actually starting feeling nervous and jittery because I didn’t have it sitting on my desk with me. I’m a bit of a control freak and like to be on top of my messages. I guess I was going through “cell withdrawals,” which, when you think about it, is so sad. Like any addict, I really felt lost without my fix! Trust me, the next morning when I could finally turn my phone back on, I felt a huge relief. I didn’t realize that I was actually addicted to my phone and don’t like that.
Overall, it was nice to a get a break from technology and realize how much I depend on my phone. I’m not an obsessive cell phone user, but it did bother me that I was going through “cell withdrawals.” I’ve decided that I’m going to keep my phone in my room when I’m at home or in my purse when I’m out. I’ll only pull it out when I need to use it instead of having it in my hand or pocket every second, constantly checking for texts or emails. I still love the convenience a cell provides, but know that I will survive without it. And that I need to. No one should be addicted to a stupid phone.
It’s really nice and quite convenient to be plugged in all the time, but, for me at least, it comes at a price that I wasn’t even aware of until I wasn’t paying it. If you can handle going offline, even if it’s only for an afternoon, I highly recommend it; there’s a lot of people and world out there that you don’t even know you’re missing.
Benefits Of Being Cell Phoneless
#1 – It Saves You Money – It was pretty awesome this month to be able to make an extra $100 payment on my credit card bill. Without a phone bill you can make larger payments on your debt, have more money to save and reduce your overall expenses.
#2 – Makes You Less Distracted – It’s nice to be able to check your email, Facebook, sport scores when you’re out and about, but it also makes you less aware of what’s going on in the world. A lot of that information will be there when you get back to your computer.
#3 – Makes You More Social – Not having access to information all the time means you need to talk to people you don’t know to get it. Lost? Ask someone for directions. Deciding on a place to eat? Stop someone on the street and ask. Going to pick someone up? You make have to get out of the car and actually get them.
#4 – Makes You A Better Navigator – The main reason I got a smart phone was originally to use as a GPS device. I never had to think about where I was going. Just put the directions in my phone and go. Now I have to actually pay attention to where I am. What a concept! When you don’t have the crutch of on-demand directions, driving becomes a lot more interesting. Sometimes it’s fun to get lost and if you don’t know where you’re going, you can always ask someone. Plus, I find myself not trying to look at my phone when I’m driving.
#5 – Makes You Plan More – If you can instantly text or call someone to go somewhere or meet-up then you have to think about what you’re doing. There used to be a time when people would make plans and meet-up at agree upon location. Cell phones have made do things without thinking about them. What’s the point of making plans or getting driving directions when you have a device that does it all for you. What if that device breaks? Can you do stuff on your own?
#6 – Increases Your Health – There’s been a bunch of studies out there linking cell phone use with brain tumors and low sperm count. Whether or not you think those studies are really something to be concerned about, it’ nice to know that you might be lessening your exposure to at least some radiation by not carry a cellphone on you 24/7
Smartphones have changed our lives in hundreds of tiny ways, and it isn’t until we try to spend a day or two without them that we find out exactly how dependent we are on them. Is that a good thing?
I don’t know, to be honest. Maybe I should remember more things, instead of relying on my ability to look them up in Google.
But I do know that having those tools at my fingertips is incredibly powerful — and for better or worse, there’s no question that we are becoming inextricably linked to devices, and particularly those that allow us to connect with our family and friends.
And from my perspective, there are way more benefits to that than there are disadvantages.
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