[Letters] Why I refuse to get a smartphone

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[Letters] Why I refuse to get a smartphone

In the age where the majority of the people use iPhones and Androids, I still tote around a little flip phone that has two demo games and no Internet access. Not only do I need physical buttons, I want to distance myself from the shackles of virtually anything virtual.

The smartphone lures anyone browsing the phone market. With the minor restriction of a contract, why choose a regular phone when a more intelligent one is available for free?

Convenient for its business features such as organization and instant e-mail-access, the versatile gadget also offers a plethora of entertainment features that give them a permanent presence in the hands of many.

However, as a high school student who already struggles with enough distractions, I say no thank you. Technology has recently suffered multitudes of hits for being detrimental on the minds of teenagers. It lowers their attention span, it fosters impatience, and it hinders their ability to think critically.

This high tech oasis of resources have rendered my generation pathetic, as they spend their evenings in front of the computer, playing video games, watching videos, or scrolling through streams of memes.

But without the smartphone, there was at least a brief time for virtual relief during school, dinner, car rides, extracurricular activities, and the wait for an appointment.

Yet this palm-sized portable device has displaced the crucial breaks one get from the grips of technology. During school, students secretly check Facebook. They play Angry Birds when the teacher is lecturing and are constantly texting friends in other classroom.

Even whilst doing homework, it is easier to multitask. Solve a problem, check messages. Read a paragraph, update status. It has become a habit to impulsively reach for the phone throughout the day, even though there are no messages or calls.

A study done by Personal and Ubiquitous Computing found that smartphone users obsessively check their e-mail or other applications for an average of every ten minutes.

According to Loren Frank, an assistant professor of physiology at the University of California, San Francisco, this constant stimulation of the brain has been proven to hamper one’s learning process.

Although the Internet is the initial culprit for this deterioration, the smartphone accelerated the process and multiplied the victims.

However, it is still possible to recover from the addiction to the cyberspace, whilst keeping the smartphone.

I suggest the following paths to rehabilitation. Set a time limit on the phone and turn the sound up to the maximum level. When the alarm goes off to signal the end of the allotted time, it is impossible to overlook the obnoxious beeping.

Also, to the inherently lazy, it is advisable to log out of a Web site after using it.

The empty sign-in boxes act as a reminder to stay away, as laziness prevents one from typing in the information again. Perhaps later on, an app will be available that blocks the phone’s access to the Internet, games and text messages for a certain period of time.

Nevertheless, to avoid the issue all together, I will never get a smartphone. Sorry Steve Jobs.

Sein Kelly Oh, a student at Bellevue High School, WA, U.S.
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