Thursday, October 1, 2015

Why I Haven't Bought a Smartphone...and Why It's Both Great & Terrible

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I don't think you need me to point this out to you, but smartphones are ubiquitous nowadays, it seems. Everywhere I look, people are tapping on screens, bringing up apps, and checking their Instagram accounts.

And then there's me, still with my "dumb phone." (Remember those? They're the ones that flip open and everything?)

Something I've found frustrating about my refusal to get a smart device is that the world seems to be making it more and more complicated for us flip-phone-lovers to keep our non-smart devices. A few examples to back me up:

1. When I went to the store a couple years ago to replace my old flip phone, there were no basic phones out on display--I actually had to have someone go into the back of the store and bring out this dusty box that contained (supposedly) one of the last flip phones they had in stock. And then they charged me like $40 for it (even with my upgrade credit). Now, I know that nowadays, $40 for a phone is nothing. However, five years ago, before the onslaught of the smartphone and smart device revolution, I was always able to get the basic phone for free with my upgrade. To make it more frustrating, I could have used my upgrade to get a basic smartphone for pretty much free (or only like $15), but then I would be forced to upgrade my plan to include data because Verizon doesn't allow you to have a smart device and not have a data plan.

I'm sure the whole thing is part of a marketing scheme, and the sad part is, it's basically working.

2. It seems that phone companies have purposely (?) made smartphones and non-smartphones incompatible. For example, almost every time I receive a text message from someone with an iPhone, I only receive about two or three words out of the message or receive just a blank text. And, when group texts are sent out, my reply is only sent back to the original sender, not everyone in the group (which can be both a blessing a curse, really).

3. As part of my job expectations, I'm supposed to be on the cutting-edge of technology in my classroom. Therefore, almost all of our professional development that has to do with technology only gives ideas and suggestions based on the assumption that the teacher owns a smart device of some kind. Since I don't own a smartphone and few other technology options have been presented to me, I just stick with the tried-and-true technology methods I was using five years ago in student teaching and feel a little guilty that I'm unable to use any of the hundreds of great educational apps available.

4. A LOT of stuff apparently goes down on Instagram, including updates on the student I mentioned in yesterday's post. But guess what? You are unable to get an Instagram account through a computer alone (or at least, I haven't been able to)----Instagram makes you install the app in order to use the program. This is super frustrating because I'm sure I'd actually really love Instagram since I love getting photography ideas and seeing other people's pics of what they've been up to, but I am unable to sign up for an account due to my lack of smart device.

So why don't I just break down and get a smartphone?

It's partly a matter of money and partly a matter of principle.

On the money side, I have *usually* found that plans that include data tend to be more expensive than non-data plans, especially through Verizon (who I go through because they're the only provider whose towers give me phone access at work). If I wanted to stay with Verizon and upgraded to a smartphone, I would likely need to pay at least $10-20 more a month, even if I didn't even need to use hardly any data (because I have wifi access at home and at work).

Plus, there's the cost of a smartphone itself---even with an upgrade available, I'm still looking at spending at least $50 (more likely to be about $100-150) for the phone itself, and I need to buy Raven a crib mattress before I buy myself a phone (since she's still sleeping in a Pack 'n Play in our room...).

But the real reason is much more principle-based than money-based, to be honest. I have noticed that many people--once they make the switch to smartphones--are on their devices All. The. Time. And sure, sometimes they're using them constructively (like to access scriptures during the lesson at church or to call/text somebody), but a LOT of the time, they just seem to be scrolling through endless news feeds, even when they have a real live human person right in front of them. Basically, it seems like a lot more time is wasted when you have endless access to mindless entertainment right at your fingertips, and it seems like a lot fewer real live human conversations happen when there are smartphones present.

Right now, whenever I'm forced to wait in line (usually at the doctor's office), I just take out the book I've brought with me and use the time to read. Or sometimes, if I've really planned ahead, I will have brought a stack of papers to grade and will work on that. I just have this feeling that if I had a smartphone with all its enticing apps and access to pretty pics on Instagram, I would just waste all that wait time playing on my everyone else.

So there you have it--calculated reasons for remaining in the Stone Age for as long as possible. Of course, a part of me wants to upgrade to a smartphone just for the fact that the cameras on them are so much better, but we'll see how long I can hold out (especially since not having a decent camera on my phone forces me to take out my "real" camera when I take pictures, which is a good thing anyway).

Anyone else out there still have a "dumb phone"? What are your reasons for holding out?


  1. Torrie!! It's like I wrote this post! I love it and my reasons are the exact same! I mostly LOVE my dumb flip phone except those rare moments. It's turned into a game for me to see how long I can hold out in not getting a smart phone. :)

    1. Ha ha, it is kind of like a game to see how long we can hold out---it's almost an issue of pride now for me, lol.

  2. I was vehemently opposed to smart phones a few years ago. I hated that people were so addicted, and I wanted to avoid getting one as long as possible. It was SO hard to find a "dumb phone" to replace the one I had (that was literally falling apart), and I finally gave in (more like, I finally accepted it as a birthday/Christmas present). I still hate seeing people sitting together and looking at their phones, and I can confidently say, I'm the best out of my friends at not pulling my phone out in social contexts. I really like having gps with me and the ability to search for addresses and phone numbers because I could get lost in a paper bag. I also really like having music and podcasts with me for commuting and running. Do I use it for a lot of other things that are probably pointless? Unfortunately, yes. I totally get where you are coming from!

    1. Besides the nicer camera, the GPS feature is the only other one that really appeals to me with smartphones...I too am constantly getting lost :)

  3. torrie just get the smartphone.

    my mother is the only one i know with still a flip phone, and even my dad is talking daily about getting her an iphone just because it will be easier in so many ways.

    it might be slightly more money because of the data, but jae and i share the lowest amount of data (1gb/month - we have verizon too) and we use wifi at work and home and we come still usually come fairly close to using that data in a month's time. so it's still worth it. the point about being on the phone all the time is a very valid point that i agree with. BUT just because you have one doesn't mean you have to be on it. you're still the human that's in control of the phone usage, and you have choices ;) for example, i deleted my facebook app from my phone so it's not nearly as easy to get on it and i am seriously on both my phone and fb waaay less. and it is such a good thing. i also don't have instagram. i hear it's awesome and i have no real objections to it, but it's just one more thing. one more reason to be on my phone. and so i don't even go there. i also don't have a pinterest account. jae has one that i occasionally log onto if i'm looking for something specific and i'm desperate, but otherwise i've found i don't really think i'm missing out too much.

    oh and with the new way they're doing phone plans now, they don't make you do a contract. and you pay for the phone on a no interest, 24 month thing. yes, you still pay the taxes for the phone and you still pay for the phone itself, but it's over 24 months in your monthly bill. and it actually has worked out to be cheaper than it was before (i just got a new phone like a month ago). it's not so bad, i promise! :)

  4. Republic Wireless solves the money side of the issue. With wifi at school, cell reception, or the lack thereof, won't be a problem either.

  5. I have a smart phone and love it. Yeah there are good things and bad things about it, but oh well. That's life these days. About Instagram though. Sure you can't sign up for it or post pics through your computer at this time. Maybe that day will come. But you can check your feed, comment and like photos, follow other accounts all through the computer. So if your really interested in stocking ppl on that platform, all you need is to borrow a smart phone for 2.5 secs to create an account and your set to go. Just a thought.


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