Smartphones Have Turned Us Into Idiots


There is no denying that having the Internet at our finger tips has helped to educate the mind, and has surely curbed many a drunken debate from becoming a full out war. But, truth be told, smartphones have turned us into idiots. Much like the conditioned response of Pavlov’s Dog to the sound of a bell, so too are we conditioned to every beep, bell, ring, click that our phones produce when it needs our attention. As soon as our phones have something to say, we shut the whole world off to focus our attention to a message that seemingly has become life or death. That’s the first problem we have created for ourselves, an electronic leash. The second problem is that we look like idiots. Head down, standing in the middle of an aisle, the sidewalk, perhaps walking into oncoming traffic. We freeze frame in a suspended animation, while the world around us continues to move, usually to avoid running into us. Take a look around any mall, bus stop, sidewalk; how many human pylons do you see with their head down, unable to enjoy the moment because that moment has been taken away from them answering a message that can most likely wait. How many of them look like zombies with the world closed around them. That’s rhetorical… They all do. Thirdly, smartphones which have become loaded with apps, are a time killer. Sure, we can get some work done on our phones, heck, I’m writing this post from the car dealership… But when we don’t have a focused task to complete, social media and games kill our ability to get other things on our list of things to do crossed off.

And now for the experiment. I have decided to break free of this insanity. For the next 3 months, commencing July 20, I am going to remove the smart from smartphone and use my iPhone purely as a phone. I am still trying to determine the parameters and am open to suggestion. Here is what I am looking at.

  1. No social apps to be installed on phone. Messages on social media will be answered at home, through a computer browser or through my wifi-only iPad mini. Yes, this does mean that hearing about my deep insights into the ridiculousness of the world around me, will be on a time restricted basis.
  2. Since text messaging is the new phone call, texts can be read / replied throughout the day, but only if I am not out walking around in public. I must be seated at my desk, on my couch, et cetera, somewhere private.
  3. No email accounts will be synchronized with the phone. Emails can be read from home, from a computer or again from my iPad mini.
  4. When travelling, the iPhone can be used for navigation, including searching for things to do, places to eat, et cetera, but must be done while seated. This has the added bonus of not giving me the appearance of some clueless, halfwit tourist.

Even in creating loose parameters in which to work with, I am wrestling with the conditions. If I don’t make the rules hard enough, then big deal; I might as well just say no smartphone use between 4am and 5am, when I’m asleep. On the other hand, I don’t want to get lost in the bad part of town because I was trying to prove a point to myself. And there it is… The grip. 

We lived long before smartphones, and now we can’t even go to the bathroom without them…  Let that sink in…. This is where we are.

Like a smoker trying to quit finds something to fill their hands, I will no doubt have a notepad and book at the ready. An actual book… Old school. 

Let’s go back in time shall we. Back to the 90s… when cell phones were actual phones.

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