Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Getty Images
Karen Fratti
February 08, 2018 5:16 pm

When it comes to technology, there’s always either a little bit of panic that it’s all ultimately going to drastically change the world for the worse or excitement about how it’ll make the entire human experience so much better. In reality, it goes both ways. Every time we change our way of doing things, we lose a little something and gain something else. But there’s something about smartphones, in particular, that really stresses people out, like having access to all the information, hot takes, and people in the world can be maddening sometimes. Which is why, instead of a full-on digital detox, there’s a lot of evidence that maybe switching to a flip phone can help with your anxiety that comes with being connected all the time.

It’s possible that you’re a total digital native and came up in a world where, when you were old enough to have a phone, your first device was already connected to the internet and all the messaging apps you could get your hands on.

In that case, switching to a flip phone might seem quaint or entirely ridiculous. Trust us, it feels the same way for those of us whose first forays into the mobile world were with cell phones that were heavy enough to make us reconsider even bringing them out with us sometimes.

However, according to a handful of studies, being attached to our phones is an addiction that most of us are dealing with in some capacity. We’re all addicted to our devices to varying degrees. Some of us relish those random days when our battery runs out and we have no way to charge it in between happy hour and going home for night. And then there are those who get hives and are totally unable to enjoy ourselves until we find a sympathetic barista to plug our phones in. Others just wouldn’t think of leaving the house without six different types of chargers to make sure that no matter what, we’re never out of juice.

We make up excuses for this kind of behavior. We swear up and down we need to check our email on the subway or couldn’t live without our tunes and access to Instagram at the gym. But there are ways to work around both of those scenarios. Really, unless you’re the White House chief of staff or an ER surgeon and have to be on call all the time, you really don’t need to be connected to a mini computer in your pocket at all times.

There are some professions that who still use pagers, for what it’s worth. We’re not saying you have to go that far. But if you’re thinking about a digital detox, here are some reasons to consider trying out a flip phone instead.

1It will force a work-life balance.

Because we can, and often are pressured to feel like we should, we spend a lot of time using apps for work on our phones, even if we have what really amounts to as a “desk job.” If your profession allows it, you probably don’t need to be all up in the Slack channel while you’re grocery shopping after work or responding to work emails from your bed in the morning.

Sure, you could delete the apps or just make a vow to yourself to actually work during work hours, but our addictions can be severe enough that we need a radical change. Like getting a phone that doesn’t even know how to download those apps. You can do all those things in the office, or even from your laptop on the go, but this way, it’s a more intentional kind of working. Bonus: We bet your emails will have fewer typos.

2You can set boundaries with friends.

If you remember, texting with a flip phone is cumbersome. That’s putting it nicely — it’s sort of a pain in the ass. Which can be a great deterrent to the incessant group messages that give you more stress than comfort and save you from sloppily drunk texting an ex. You really have to think about it, so you can set up calls or GChat sessions with friends instead or meet up and actually be present for them.

When you meet a cute person at the bar, you can give them your email address instead. This will possibly lead to better conversation in the first place since they can’t just send you a “WYD” or a “Ha” in response to something. Then you can explain that you’re not a total technophobe but just trying to live your best life sans an iPhone.

3Say goodbye to 24/7 social media.

Unless you’re an Instagram influencer or live for Snapchat, you can still have social media without a smartphone. If anything, using a desktop version of Twitter or Facebook will make your life so much less stressful. You won’t be endlessly scrolling through Instagram before bed, ruining your sleep patterns or getting yourself too engaged in Twitter beef when you don’t have to. If you need to log on, you always can always catch up on the latest news, feuds, and your ex’s wedding photos when you’re sitting in front your computer. Really, social media can make you feel like complete trash whether you know it or not, so instead of thinking of it as a defect of a “dumb” phone because you can’t drunk tweet, think of it as a major feature.

4You can pick up a new hobby.

It is very fair to wonder how the hell you will get by with a flip phone when it comes to taking pictures and listening to music. So, if you find your bliss by taking perfect iPhone X pics and jamming to Spotify while you run, bailing on your smartphone is maybe not a great idea. We admit it. But! You can buy portable music players still to suit your needs whether it’s a digital Sony Walkman (yea, they make them) or dig out your old iPod. Most of them are still compatible.

If you’re a music junkie, you can get back in touch with that old school feeling of transferring your favorite tunes to a device before you leave the house or take an actual camera to your friends wedding. They still develop film, too. Read a book or journal before bed instead of zooming in on Kylie Jenner’s pics to see if she’s pregnant or a member of the Illuminati or whatever. We know — all of this could cause more anxiety than going off a smartphone altogether, but there are workarounds.

5You can save money!

When you factor in the cost of leasing a phone from your service provider, since that’s what most of us do anyway, buying a “dumb” phone and getting unlimited calls and texting time is so much cheaper! We’re not just slaves to our phones, but we’re slaves to really expensive and totally unnecessary data. You don’t have to put on a tin foil hat to know that we’re all kind of suckers in this way. Like, they got us. We’re hooked. We know we don’t need it, but we need it.

But there’s an alternative. You could choose to use a less “advanced” device so that you can make calls and texts when you need to (and play Snake!) without having all the distractions. It’s not an easy choice — it means you’re going to have hail cabs or use a friend for an Uber and you can’t incessantly check your checking account balance or your Twitter notifications. It’s not for everyone. But there are some good reasons to get a flip phone and put that smartphone away for a bit. Even if it’s just for a billing cycle or two.

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