Monday, July 16, 2012

Why I Don't Have a Smartphone

Recently, my brother, who is also the owner of a dowdy "dumb" cellphone like myself, shared that he had read an article which accused us non-smartphone users of being pretentious and self-consciously chic.  We had a good laugh about that, as we both know that a truer characterization is self-consciously "cheap"!

I do not own a Smartphone, and I honestly do not desire or plan to get one any time soon.  Upon reflection, I realized that there are three main reasons for this.

First, yes, I am cheap.  Or perhaps more accurately, I am on a very limited budget and am careful about how I spend every dollar.  Smartphones may seem a necessity to many people, but it cannot be denied that they can be expensive to own and use.

Secondly, and this point is related to the first, it does not seem to me that whatever value the useful apps might have, they would be worth the cost to me personally.  I have read and heard about all the great apps available, and there are new ones all the time.  Sometimes I wish I could try some of these tools that can organize and manage everything from your receipts to your prayers.  However, one thing I have learned as an adult and a mom is that no tool can substitute for my own self-discipline.  I have purchased great planners and organizers before, but they only work if I work.  I laughed a little bit to myself one day at the gym when I heard a lady describe a sit-ups app with such excitement that it literally sounded like the app did the sit-ups for her!  When they create an app like that, I'll get the smartphone!

My last reason is truly the most important, and it has nothing to do with money.  I think we have all been in the situation where we felt ignored or snubbed because a friend, family member, or acquaintance was checking their phone instead of paying attention to us.  It seems that our culture as a whole is devaluing personal face-to-face connection, and I think that is sad.  And the thing is, I don't criticize this behavior because I think I'm better than these people.  Actually, I know myself, and I think I could be just as bad.  I already am sometimes guilty of spending too much time on my netbook computer at home or checking my email or facebook too many times a day.  I certainly don't need the temptation to do this when I am out at my kids activities, shopping, or visiting friends.  I realize that there are people who perhaps need to be connected to their jobs, but I think my emails from the PTO, my moms' group, and my daughter's AHG troop can probably wait until I get home.

As it is, I have been considering my own technology use lately and how it is contributing (or not) to the kind of intentional life that I want.  I have been reading things like Hands Free Mama and One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are , and I am still mulling over these authors' insights about living distraction free in the moment.  But one thing I do know is that I don't want to spend my life constantly connected to technology.

Of course, I'm not saying that other people should not have Smartphones; this is my personal decision.   I'm also not going to back myself into a corner here, so that I get "ah-ha" emails in a few years when I might indeed have one.  I'm not going to say I will never get one.  I realize that they may become so much a part of life that they might be hard to avoid, just as the internet and cellphones have in the past years.  But I'm not in a hurry, and I would not do it without extremely grave consideration.

For now, my phone will stay "dumb."

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