As you read the title, you may have thought, “who in their right mind would say “no” to a smartphone in this age of technology?”
The answer – Me!
Not that I haven’t been tempted. First there is the convenience of a computer at your fingertips. Then there is accessibility. Not to mention peer pressure – sometimes I feel that I am the only mom in the world without one!
It does make me feel better to know that I am not the only non-smartphone carrying mamma – did you know that two thirds of Americans own smartphones? The average American spends 34 hours/month using mobile apps and browsers – that is a lot of time!
We have had a pay-as-you-go phone used for emergencies for a couple of years. You know, someone is headed to town and grabs the phone on the way out – just in case something happens or a question comes up. But, we began to notice a discrepancy in the reported minutes used and decided to make a change.
Your first impression might be that I am concerned about the health issues associated with smartphones – text claw, addiction, neck pain from too much texting and even unhealthy levels of radiation.
The last one might be big for some because cell phones do emit a low level of radiation that the World Health Organization considers possibly carcinogenic in humans along with chloroform, lead and the pesticide DDT. But, according the the National Cancer Institute:
- Cell phones emit radiofrequency energy, a form of non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation, which can be absorbed by tissues closest to where the phone is held.
- The amount of radiofrequency energy a cell phone user is exposed to depends on the technology of the phone, the distance between the phone’s antenna and the user, the extent and type of use, and the user’s distance from cell phone towers.
- Studies thus far have not shown a consistent link between cell phone use and cancers of the brain, nerves, or other tissues of the head or neck. More research is needed because cell phone technology and how people use cell phones have been changing rapidly.
Despite all that, health issues were not the reason for my decision, so, why do I say, “no” to a smartphone?
3 Reasons I Say “No” to a Smartphone
In comparison to the majority of Americans, our family lives a very simple lifestyle – a lifestyle I guard and want to maintain.
I am sure there are some people that could maintain a simple lifestyle with a smartphone, but at this point in my life, I am convinced that I would not be one of them!
I am a type A personality, all-or-nothing sorta girl and I spend enough time as it is on my laptop. I can’t imagine what I would be like if I had a computor on my person all the time – Ohhhh, the temptation to surf, shop, Facebook and blog! Oh my goodness!!!
Smartphones and their necessary data plans are expensive. I like many people operate on a budget – I save money in areas and spend in others. When weighing the cost of a basic cell phone vs a smartphone, I was surprised at the difference. Bear with me here while I run the numbers with you and keep in mind that while it might not sound like much per month, multiplied by 12 months, the yearly difference is great.
A basic cell phone plan with coverage for our area is about $30/mnth before fees and taxes. A smartphone with 1 GB data (the least available) plan is about $70/mth before fees and taxes. With the basic plan, I could get a flip phone for $0.99. A smartphone would be around $200 for a newer model phone. With technology changing so quickly, I was not comfortable buying a less expensive older model.
These prices may not sound bad for a monthly expense but yearly, the picture changes: A basic phone would cost $361/yr including the 0$.99 for the phone. A smartphone would cost $1040/yr – $200 for the phone and $840 for the data plan. That is a difference of $679 before fees and taxes! I can do a lot with $679!
Except for vineyard work that is right out my door, I am blessed to be a stay-at-home mom – a smartphone for me would be a convenience rather than a necessity. I have access to my laptop most of the time and just don’t really need another computer.
I understand that many people conduct business with their smartphones but that is not my life.
There is definitely a convenience factor with smartphones and that is worth a lot. In making my decision between a basic phone and a smartphone, I knew I would love to have GPS, gas buddies, instant access to Facebook and instagram… but, I don’t NEED it – I have made it just fine without all that up to this point!
Guard Your Relationships
Relationships are the most important things in our lives. The tendency to neglect relationships is a real temptation with the modern technology at our fingertips.
This may hit a nerve with some but, we have all seen it – a family in a restaurant for dinner and one or both parents are on their smartphone rather than talking. I am concerned about our families and our society as I look around at the seemingly neglectful attitude toward relationships. Cell phones have the potential to keep people from connecting and investing in each other.
Talking with one another when we can see the expression of the other person, lets us know what affect our words are having. In a world where texting and typing is the norm, I can’t help but wonder if that is one reason our society as a whole is losing its empathy.
I am not dogmatic that I will never have a smartphone, but for now, I am saying “no”.
How about you? Do you have a basic phone, a smartphone or no cell phone at all?