A Dumbphone Can Rescue You From Your Social Media Addiction

Nokia 1280

Regina’s gaze was fixed on her smartphone. She was enjoying those short, yet ridiculous videos on TikTok.

Philip, Regina’s husband, was preparing breakfast in the kitchen. He was fully aware of his wife’s addiction to social media.

Regina laughed at the videos she saw and the horrible part was that she did not look in her husband’s direction during the time that she held her smartphone in her hand.

Philip decided to make fun of her ― the harmless type of fun that would prove to his wife, Regina, that she was addicted to social media. “Sweetheart, would you like me to spray paint your hair green and light it on fire?” Philip asked jokingly.

“Sure, anything, darling,” Regina replied without paying attention to what Philip said.

“Regina, please put the smartphone down on the table and look at me,” Philip said in a loud tone of voice.

Regina followed Philip’s instructions and looked at him with a concerned-looking facial expression. “Is there anything wrong, Philip?” Regina asked.

“Yes, Regina, there is a huge problem,” Philip said pointing to Regina’s smartphone. “A while ago, I asked you if you wanted me to spray paint your hair green and light it on fire and you gave me the okay to do so.”

Regina felt embarrassed. She knew that her husband had caught on to her social media addiction.

“Regina, you need to replace that smartphone of yours with a dumbphone!” Philip said in a stern tone of voice.

“A dumbphone?” Regina asked.

“Yes, a dumbphone!” Philip replied. “A dumbphone is the opposite of a smartphone; a phone that is similar in every way to those simple cellular phones that we used almost two decades ago.”

Regina tried to imagine what her life would be like without a smartphone. In her mind’s eye, she saw herself not checking any sort of social media on a mobile phone (It was a future that she dreaded with every fibre of her being).

Philip placed a plate with a slice of toast with raspberry jam on it and a cup of Earl Grey tea in front of her and said, “After we have finished eating breakfast, I am taking you shopping; you are getting a brand new dumbphone today!”

Countless People From Around The World Are Addicted To Social Media

Unfortunately, there are countless people like Regina ― people who are addicted to viewing their social media accounts around the clock on their smartphones.

I recommend reading, Why Are We Addicted To Social Media: The Psychology Of Likes by Dr. Steve Rose, to gain a better understanding of the reason why some people become heavily addicted to social media.

The bad news is that smartphones make it easy for social media addicts to gain access to their social media accounts.

The Smartphone Is Not Inherently Bad

The smartphone can be used in a positive manner; for example it can be used to:

  • Conduct online banking.
  • Pay your bills.
  • Check your email messages.
  • Make phone calls.
  • Send text messages.
  • Order food from restaurants and order groceries from various supermarkets or order food directly from food and beverage manufacturers online.
  • Order shoes and clothing online.
  • Order electronic items online.
  • Publish blog posts online.
  • Read articles online.
  • Watch movies online.
  • Make hotel reservations.
  • Book flights.

That, my friend, is merely a small sample of the things that a person can do with the help of their smartphone.

The problem occurs when the smartphone becomes the master and you become its servant.

The smartphone keeps the social media addict connected to their social media accounts, twenty-four hours, seven days a week; thus providing the social media addict with constant dopamine fixes.

An Epiphany That Was Made While Attending My Uncle’s Birthday Party

This memory will always remain in my mind:

Many years ago, at one of my uncle’s birthday parties, his young nieces and nephews were all in a corner with their heads down.

What were they doing with their heads down?

They were all engrossed with their smartphones (They were mesmerized by what was taking place on their social media accounts).

Imagine, going to a birthday party and only spending the majority of your time checking out the goings-on on social media on your smartphone (That is insane).

Dear friend, in addition to having fun, the attendees of the birthday party are supposed to be interacting with the host or hostess and each other face-to-face.

Therefore, going to a birthday party and spending the majority of your time checking out your social media accounts and interacting with them more than you interact with the people at the birthday party is morbid (Unfortunately, this is what life has come to).

Dumbphones To The Rescue!

Many people have used dumbphones to help curb their social media addiction.

Dumbphones are simple; one can only use them to make phone calls, receive phone calls, send text messages and receive text messages.

Therefore, using dumbphones to check out one’s social media accounts is totally out of the picture.

There were those who felt emancipated because they were no longer grasped by social media’s invisible hand.

The Thoughts That Some People Are Thinking

Some of the people who are reading this are probably thinking, “Renard, what about the computers that people have at home? They can still use their computers to access their social media accounts.”

They are correct. People can still access their social media accounts via their computers.

The good news is that you can block those social media websites on your computer; Aaron Brook’s article, 10 Best Website Blockers to Block Facebook, Instagram & More, will provide you with instructions on how to block those social media networks.

If you are a Linux user can read Magesh Maruthamuthu’s article, How to Block the Access to Certain Websites on Linux; it will provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to go about blocking social media websites.

Problem solved!

Conclusion

Replacing your smartphone with a dumbphone is certainly an effective approach to weaning yourself off of social media.

You will also regain more control over your life and finally do the things that you were too busy to do while you were hooked on social media.

And, if for some reason you have failed at staying away from social media despite having a dumbphone, you will have to go a step further by booking multiple sessions with an addiction counsellor or a psychiatrist.

57 thoughts on “A Dumbphone Can Rescue You From Your Social Media Addiction

  1. Good post, Renard. Aah the bane of modern day sociality.

    Although people need to exercise moderation in their social media access and not be driven by it all. I have never had a Smartphone; l don’t want one. I have a Nokia Dumbphone – it makes and receives calls and texts, and l think it has Snake the game on it. [I only know that because l discovered it waiting for Suze whilst she was at the doctor’s the other day in town]. I have had this model since 2017. It has two numbers: Suze’s and my mother’s. It is only needed for me, not even for an emergency, as it hardly ever leaves the house unless Suze tells me to bring it], but for double authentication.

    I’m not too fond of the dang thing; l hate mobile phones full stop. But then, l am not a lover of social media and only recognise their business need. I have a FB account that l have had since 2009, and l have 13 friends on it, or l should correct that to 13 people l know, and 6 l have met in real-time. But l don’t use it regularly, l check in once and twice a day, but l use it mainly for the Messenger feature.

    I used to have Twit, and l gave that up in 2017 after using it for two years and gathering 6500 followers but was pleased to delete them all.

    Many years ago, from 2003 – 2010 used my then-old mobile phone to send out 800 business texts a month to my client base. But that was business.

    I will, in time, attach certain social media to the new blog, but l am in no rush. Being social to the extreme isn’t needed for social. I accept that WP is also a form of social media, but l am hardly a social butterfly here anyway, either.

    Suze uses her smartphone all the time and never without it – her entire life is in the damn thing – she is not addicted to social media and uses the phone primarily for communication like old mobiles were used for, but it is like a third-hand for her and l can see the convenience to it – but meh, not for me thanks.

    I am happy to leave my mobile at home when l go out because l wish to enjoy nature and a quiet time and not be pestered by the social beeps of social media.

    I see so many people zombified by their phones and wonder how they might react if that lifeline of abuse and addiction was suddenly gone from their lives – forever.

    I use a desktop pc, but even now, l am out more than in. I no longer have the time to sit behind the screen all day, which is significant to mobile phone users – the convenience of the handset is always with them.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I may use my phone for emails and text with Twitter thrown in blogging, but everything is done via my browser. Not apps. I hate apps with gritted terth when an app is shoved down my throat.
    Trouble is businessess are forcing apps on us. We are expected to have a smartphone. Not everyone can afford to. Its not paperbased. They expect you to do it online. I hate it.
    I actually want the whole thing to crash for 1 month to give these crazies, Gov is one, that want us to conduct everything online or pay by debit card instead of cash, to show just how having the old ways available to us is still a good idea. The old ways should still be a choice.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Another interesting, thought provoking post Renard. I like the flexibility and convenience of the smartphone but you’re right, we need to be on guard against being attached to it 24/7. It is a tool to make life easier. I dont use much social media and am quite comfortable to turn it upside down so it doesn’t disturb me while I’m working or engaging in face to face social interactions… but I will use it today for my bus tickets, to check train times and to call my husband after a works leaving do, to say I’m headed home. I also like that I can check my MS Teams calendar for appointments without turning on the computer

    Liked by 4 people

  4. The most worrying aspect is that only people whom are old enough never to have had mobile phones notice the addiction. They have become the new cigarettes. Look at me on my cool phone. I regularly get people walk in front of my bus whilst looking at the phones.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Human behavior is hard to change. It seems to me that everywhere I look these days, there is somebody with their nose in a smartphone. Worse than that, they are probably unaware of a physical disease that can come from keeping your neck bent like most people do when they are on their phones. There is a very painful neck problem that comes from watching phones for hours each day. It can be prevented by holding the phones at eye level while using them … which is something that most people will not do or do not the see the need to do.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. I deleted all my social media account almost a decade ago and it was the best decision I’ve made! For any readers interested in reducing or quit social media, here’s what worked for me (after many failed attempts): unfollow (or whatever it may be called nowadays) brands, influences, and acquaintances so you only have important family/freinds. When I did that, the curated news feed and ad algorithm broke and I was interested in literally nothing…within two weeks, I lost interest completely. Granted, things have probably changed in the last 8-9 years, but it may be worth a shot.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. As a psychologist myself, I agree to the article within about the psychology (and pitfalls) of social media and likes.

    I am not a fan of social media because people stop being present in life – some share a post on vacation “this is the best moment of my life” – then why not fully enjoy that best moment and post about it AFTER the vacation?

    The worst part of social media aside from the addiction aspects are WHY most people post- for VALIDATION.

    So many people lean on external validation rather than internal validation.

    For example, if they post a picture sharing “this is the best moment of my life!” they will question if it really was “the best moment of my life” if OTHERS don’t give many likes or comments to the post.

    Similarly, social media makes people self-absorbed as most are trying to be “famous” – social media companies use the psychology of “follower” intentionally to make the person feel like a leader or more powerful. In years past you were “friends” if added people but companies realize the psychology of gaining “followers” to motivate and inflate people’s ego.

    Most people are not famous from social media but think they are because they have thousands of followers.

    As Renard shares, they become less present with family and friends and more focused on a (false) image that will give them validation rather than self-validating.

    Social media, like most things can be okay in moderation, but many people struggle with addiction and codependency of social media.

    It causes many people to be unproductive, more depressed comparing their bodies to “Instagram models” – many who have bizarre looking surgeries causing mental disorders like body dysmorphia. It’s sad.

    Good article. I have a smart phone but I’m smart enough to know to stay present in life and not look for external validation to establish my self-worth.

    As many others have shared, deleting social media accounts or not using them can feel so relieving when you really embrace being present with life more than following viral social media challenges and watching videos and pictures for endless hours.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. I use my smartphone as a phone. Hubby and I have our own phones for emergencies in case we’re separated. I use my laptop for social media but I can’t say I’m addicted to social media. I spend a lot of time on WordPress.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. With my job, and now this blog, I have to be connected to social media, but I’ve found a way to limit my time on them.

    I removed all social media accounts from my phone (besides WordPress), and I only access them when I’m near a computer.

    My screen time has gone done tremendously, and I’ve found more time to enjoy hobbies and more time to think of stuff besides what other people are doing!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. OMG your story about Regina & Phillip & her Smartphone is hilarious Renard!!!
    I’ve actually seen people walk into trees or Hydro poles here because they never look up!
    I have a story to share with you. My BFF’S J & A & their grown daughter S & son-in-law N took me out for supper one nite…it was our last meal together b4 J & A moved almost 4,000 miles away.
    So there we all are sitting in the booth…There is plain newsprint paper used as tablecloths & a cup of crayons so children can color til food comes. I always colored when I went to that restaurant as the Cook loved my drawings. Now I can color & talk at the same time. At first we all were talking……it was wonderful.
    And then a few minutes later I realize no one is talking…..I look up & all 4 of them have their faces stuffed in their Smartphones! I put my Crayon down & asked them if they wanted me to go home….I have to say I WAS pretty upset. This was our last supper together & they could not even stay off their phones for an hour!
    Of course they all did put phones down & we DID have a nice meal…..it was so a bit quiet. I think everyone felt badly.
    My friends were one for 7 years. Just moved back to town February…not a phone in sight when we get together!!! 😉
    Where can I get me some Dumb Phones just in case??? Hahaha!
    Sherri-Ellen ala BellaSita Mum & *snickurrss* BellaDharma

    Liked by 3 people

  11. I’ve just finished reading Johann Hari’s Stolen Focus which is about how our attention is being hijacked by platforms whose main strategy is to keep us addicted to our phones (in an effort to buy more). I’ve got off social media for the last few months and now go on long walks without my phone. Also leave my phone at home when I go shopping. It’s fantastic albeit a bit weird at times when I need to check something and reach for it in my pocket or bag only to realise I don’t have it with me. It’s the best. Finally I’m getting my focus back a little bit.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I have a serious Internet addiction that goes beyond just my smartphone. Too much endless scrolling through articles and YouTube videos to get myself outraged about one thing or another. Rather than getting a dumbphone (that still leaves me with two computers and a tablet), I should pick up a book instead.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. i strongly agree. the best way to reduce addictiveness social media by cut all access to social media. you can change your phone to be dumb phone or you can uninstall the social media app.

    i ever uninstall instagram and twitter a couple month ago, honeatly i feel relax. i feel i am mor focus to people in my real life. and make my happiness becime real by interaction with real people

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Here we use a dumbphone with a smartphone because a dumbphone is portable to hold and the battery can last for a week, just in case your smartphone battery runs down or you are in a place where you are not meant to use your smartphone (in traffic where armed robber could steal your smartphone or a party where you need to give people around you attention), your dumbphone becomes handy.🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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