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Dumbfones

By Micki Durocher DavisHi, my name is Micki and I’m addicted to my Smartphone. I am always aware of its location and battery life. I love the way it fits in my hand. I guard it carefully wherever I go. It’s ridiculous. But I know I’m not alone.

Obviously, we have become a society that is reliant on electronics. Anybody reading this blog is tech-savvy and probably prefers electronic communication over the handheld written word. But, I’m afraid the Smartphones are so smart that they’re making us dumb. Recently in my shop, I “Googled” to find the answers to a crossword puzzle for a guest. I also used it to add up simple arithmetic that I should have known in my head. This phone is very handy and useful, but my brain doesn’t even get fully used because I know I can just reach for my phone.  Not only that, I fear my children will become more familiar with the top of my head than my eyes because I’m constantly looking down at my phone.

For the longest time, I was reluctant to get a Smartphone (for a couple of reasons.) One, I’m a cheap skate. I knew it would cost too much money for the phone and the plan. And two, I try not to immediately follow the masses like a cliff-diving lemming … but I almost always give in. Prior to this phone, I had a very simple cellphone which performed the basic functions – calling & texting. No pictures. No Facebook. No internet. No weather, maps or apps. And I was just fine with that.

Every now and then I try to leave my phone at home, to prove to myself that I am not a mindless robot. And that I AM a good mom who pays attention to her kids.  It’s hard at first, but I always end up feeling refreshed that I unplugged for a little while. Recently, I tested myself and left my phone at home for most of the weekend just to see what I even use it for. Every time I tried to reach for my phone, I grabbed my notebook instead and jotted down what it was I was planning to do with my phone. Here is a list I accumulated in just two hours:

  • What time the Lions game starts
  • Check Facebook and phone for missed calls or texts
  • Weather/Current Temp
  • Store hours for local consignment shop
  • See what the guy on the radio looks like
  • Check Facebook and phone for missed calls or texts
  • Look up Hunger Games site
  • Call home to give weather report
  • Check Facebook and phone for missed calls or texts

So dumb. All of it. I’m glad I didn’t have my phone! I didn’t need to know or do any of those things. When I finally made it back to my phone, I found I had missed zero calls or texts. I received one measly email from Sears to inform me of a 5% savings I could receive. Several people posted their political opinions on Facebook along with many pictures, statuses (some very clever, some factual) notes and quotes. Same as it ever was.

I’m overjoyed that I was watching my boys enjoy the carnival instead. It pleased me greatly that I visited with a cousin of mine I hadn’t seen in years rather than look up any of that information. I encourage you, if you don’t already, to unplug occasionally. Remember there was a time when we weren’t so accessible and we all got along just fine. Let’s get back to that.

  • Clover Keyes Roy

    I agree. Sometimes it pains me to know how much I rely on my smartphone, camera, calculator, dictionary, news source, gps, scrabble games…. I have become a Connection Junkie. It is in our DNA to crave connection, but it’s risen to a level we’d never thought possible. Hate to say it, but nano-technology will be sticking all the above under our skin (literally) in the future. Cue the Twilight Zone music…. and thanks for reminding me to look in my kids’ eyes.

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