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BBC Editor's Pick: Why you should switch to a flip phone

kenny

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Editors are picking their best stories of 2016 to republish.

http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20160419-should-you-dump-your-smartphone-for-a-flip-phone

On the subway, commuting into the heart of New York City, Danny Groner stands out.
He is one of the only people in the carriage not staring at a small screen.
He’s proud to not be one of the more than two-thirds of Americans who own a smartphone.

Like billionaire business leaders Warren Buffett and Blackstone private equity’s Stephen Schwartzman, Groner's only mobile connection with the world is an old-school flip-phone used just for calls and SMS (text messages).
But he’s not an old fogey.
At 32, Groner is at the heart of the smartphone target audience.
He’s young, and he’s a manager at the $1.2 billion-listed stock photo agency Shutterstock, one of Silicon Alley’s big success stories.
His office is in the company’s swanky headquarters, occupying two floors of the Empire State Building.
It’s a start-up vision complete with swings, games rooms and a yoga studio.
Surrounded by technology, Groner makes it crystal clear why he benefits from being a smartphone refusenik.

“I worry about burning out,” he said.
“I spend 13, 14 hours a day in front of a screen, that’s enough.
It doesn’t need to be 17 hours.”
Despite his enthusiasm for retro devices, he admits we can’t all ditch our smartphones: “If everybody was like me, no work would get done,” he said, even though Groner thinks his smartphone avoidance makes him a better worker.

When those studies were extended to include workers across a broader spectrum of occupations, and included a look at the effect of TV and laptop use the results were confirmed.
“Out of all those devices, smartphones were associated with the most powerful effects,” they reported.
Harvard University psychology lecturer Dr Holly Parker believes that flip-phone use could help people to define the line between work and home.
“People don't have to force themselves into the false choice of, I can never look at work outside home versus I have to do it all the time,” she said, suggesting that companies benefit from improved productivity if they allow employees to cultivate the space to recover from work.

“The rise of the flip-phone is a reaction to feeling as if one is subservient to your smartphone.
Adopting a flip-phone is a bold and luxurious statement to proclaim that you have control,” said lawyer and “tech ethicist” David Ryan Polgar.
But, he thinks there are better ways to show that you’ve mastered control over invasive technology.
Just don’t keep your smartphone around all the time.

“Both a tech-savvy person using a flip-phone and someone consciously choosing to not have their smartphone is projecting power and freedom,” he said.
“That is the status symbol.”
Of course, that sort of discipline is easy to aspire to and quite hard to achieve for many.
Some even think it may be necessary to change laws to make people comfortable switching off their smartphones.
France is the first country to consider enshrining the “right to disconnect” in legislation.

This initiative comes not from trade unions, but from Bruno Mettling, deputy director of the French multinational telecommunications company Orange, who last September submitted a report on digital work to France’s Minister of Labour.
Afterwards, in a radio interview with Europe 1, he said that although there was no legal obligation for an employee to stay connected, this doesn't recognise the reality of relationships with managers.
Even with the protection of the law, however, it may be almost impossible for most of us to resist the lure of the screen to make one last check of email and messages before trying to get to sleep.

That’s what led Ellyn Shook, chief human resources officer for global consulting firm Accenture, to go low-tech.
After failing in her attempt to ban her iPhone from her bedside table, early last summer she bought a flip-phone.
It wasn’t to be a permanent replacement for her smartphone, but a substitute to be switched on when she needed to be switched off from work.
It worked.
As a result of her step back in time to use old technology she was able to spend whole days on the beach at the weekend without checking her phone, she said.
As for Groner, he said he won’t upgrade to a smartphone.
“People tell me I could just leave it in my pocket and not turn it on.
But I don’t trust myself,” he said.
“If it was available I’d end up just as addicted as they are.”
 

ruby59

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My husband and I both have flip phones.

They are mere tools so that in an emergency members of our families can reach us.

Otherwise it stays in our pockets.

We were at a restaurant the other day. Whole tables where everyone was on their phones. No conversation at all. Even the young kids were playing games on tablets.

What wasted opportunities for busy families to be able to reconnect with each other.
 

Bayek

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I could hear a lot people on a flip phone.
 

kenny

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Tekate|1482782883|4109684 said:
I could hear a lot people on a flip phone.
Huh? :confused:
 

Arcadian

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I can't see going back to a flip phone. I use my phone for more than just phone stuff. Plus I can't do any type of app testing on a flip phone.

For some, flip phones are fine. My parents have one. But frankly they're not for me. I was glad when phone finally got big enough to do stuff. Plus I have long nails. Itty bitty phones and long nails are horrid.
 

Bayek

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whoops, what I mean to say was; I could hear on my flip much more clearly than on any of my current or past smart phones.
 

kenny

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Tekate|1482788351|4109702 said:
whoops, what I mean to say was; I could hear on my flip much more clearly than on any of my current or past smart phones.
Ahh, got it.
Thanks.
 

monarch64

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If you like your flip, keep it! Until it's obsolete or doesn't work anymore, if you don't need a smartphone and the flipphone works for you, by all means, use it. I don't judge or look down upon anyone using whatever form of technology they like that is functional for them.

Just the same, though, I expect people not to lump me in with the smartphone group that's apparently getting too much screen time or is suffering ill effects. I wish I were a billionaire or very highly paid and didn't HAVE to worry about being speedy and caught up on work all the time. It would be great to go back to a flip phone and spend 8 minutes scrolling through the alphabet just to send 2 sentences via text.

In defense of smartphones and reducing carbon footprints: I have found that I travel far less for work. I can conduct meetings from home using FaceTime or Skype instead of driving all over. The time I save commuting to work (I work from home the majority of the time) and driving to meetings, I can spend tending my organic garden. :praise: I know, so smug, so off-putting. But, it's actually true. I do those things.

I think it's great to acknowledge that screen time needs to be limited and a line between work and life needs to be drawn. But is it technology that's the problem, or is it humans' tendency towards addiction and greed? If you can't put down the phone at the end of the day, maybe the problem is you, not the phone. And maybe you need to figure out that it could be ANY vice causing you to lose sleep and therefore productivity or happiness.

This was a very interesting and provocative article you posted, Kenny. Thank you for sharing!
 

redwood66

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I wish I could get by with a flip phone. But our smartphones are our internet because nothing else is available. I will hold onto my two 6 year old Verizon unlimited data plans until they decide to take them.
 

OreoRosies86

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I don't see going back to a flip phone, and I'm definitely not ready to become a grump about how others use their phones either. My phone is amazing. I can talk to family over in China any time I want on WeChat for the cost of monthly wifi. A decade ago international phone cards would have cost a FORTUNE.
 
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