Wolfgang recently published a video called “Will a Dumbphone Fix Your Social Media Addiction?” While this obviously addresses the novelty of new “dumbphones”, he also presents solutions that don’t require purchasing a dumbphone in order to help reduce social media usage, or most other digital addictions. I encourage you all to check it out and share it with those who you think may be benefited.
I agree with Wolfgang, but I also think that a dumbphone can be a helpful tool depending on the person. Like many things when it comes to behavioral change, as long as you don’t think something is a silver bullet to solve your problem, you’re probably managing expectations well enough. While I don’t like the clickbaitiness that apparently grew around dumbphones, the idea itself seems valid to me.
Funnily enough, I watched Chris Titus’ video yesterday and thought to myself how I like the utility of a smartphone way too much to downgrade. However, I’m also the kind of person who will tinker with their phone until it works just like they want it to.
Since you can always check social media if you really wanted to, what I find helpful is to just add friction on the way to checking the social media app. If you’re still checking it too much after removing it from your homescreen, trying putting a timer. Then try increasing the timer. Then try deleting it from your phone or making it a poorer experience to use in some way. Of course you can always get passed any barriers you raise for yourself, but each barrier will remind you of what you’re trying to achieve. It’s a mental hurdle you have to get across. Not full proof at all, but it’s something I’ve been trying out.
I don’t have typical social media addiction, but I can be one to check Discord or Reddit too often, so I don’t keep those on my phone. Then I found myself looking for something to scroll through just for the feeling, so I put a time limit on my browser. Most recently, I’m trying the idea of hiding the YouTube app on my phone. That way I still get notifications when videos are out, but I don’t accidentally wander into the app when I have 5 minutes to spare. I can undo all of this, but when I run into the road block, I’m reminded of what I’m trying to do. Not to mention all of the other things I do to make sure my phone is working for me and not the other way around. And I get to keep my PDA, to reference Wolfgang.
To each their own, though!
I actually have first-hand experience in using a dumb phone.
Imo, unless your addictions are terrible, then there is no reason to put up with the downgrade. Dumb phones are excellent if you want a touch-screen mp3/mp4 player. Instead of using traditional social media, I only participate in Matrix, Discourse, and Aether forums. These forums are generally less toxic and have stronger communities.
(Totally check out Aether if you have the time)
I think Wolfgang really hit the nail on the head here with this video. In our modern world, smartphones just have way too much utility to give up entirely, and I personally believe social media addiction is more of a self-control issue, something a dumbphone can help to solve but will probably not solve entirely. Teaching yourself to be in control and slowly disconnect from social media is likely more effective then blocking it entirely IMO.
It seems like some research is needed. It might solve the issue, but depending on the person may be a tool in a mixed bag of treatments to end an addiction.
I have never used social media (I’m 65), never will. I am naturally anti-social. I do like a smartphone for it’s benefits like being able to use internet when I’m away from home. I like privacy and security, so I’ve installed GrapheneOS on my new Pixel 6.