Fazlin Fransman Researcher, Writer and Consultant

Many struggle to control their addiction to social media – and their smartphones serve as enablers.

Wherever you go, people are on their smartphones. In shops, restaurants or on the street, people are almost constantly glued to their devices, obsessed with the notion that they cannot exist without being connected to the cyber world.

Smartphones have completely transformed our lives. They are supposed to be great connecters to the world, but they are themselves devices that inhibit deep connection with others.

The irony is clear.

Smartphones have also helped evolve society. While they may draw us away from being present, they have also allowed us to express ourselves online and connect with people all over the world.

I have a love-hate relationship with my smartphone. I recognise the negatives, but I’m also grateful for it, as it is a tool to connect me with others that enables me to get my message on any topic out into the world instantly.

However, the polarities in the world of smartphones are evident.

Many struggle to control their addiction to social media –– and their smartphones serve as enablers. One solution that is gaining momentum is the “dumb phone movement“.

This movement is about abandoning your smartphones and returning to the older, “dumber” cellular devices. But what would a day, a week or a month without a smartphone look like?

Firstly, you wouldn’t be bombarded with negative new stories constantly. You would be able to select how you want to receive your news, and when.

Secondly, you wouldn’t be receiving countless notifications from your social media accounts, eating into your already nonexistent data.

Thirdly, you would have to invest in a Garmin or use a physical map to find your way around.

Fourthly, you wouldn’t have a high-quality camera to snap random photos of moments in your everyday life.

To many, this reality may seem drastic. Do we really need to abandon our phones to reduce our usage, or should we simply deal with our addictions? Well, the movement to abandon the smartphone has gained momentum because people feel that going cold-turkey is the simplest way to deal with the addiction.

These rebels are not postmodern luddites or technologically challenged. They are smart people using dumb phones. They see their decision to disconnect as a liberating experience that allows them to live their lives free of the distraction of electronic devices.

With so many reasons to quit, is it any wonder that many have joined the movement to declare their digital independence?