I live in a pretty trendy neighbourhood, where it feels like people have the shiniest, newest accessories. This is especially true when it comes to the latest technology. I have friends with iPhones, iPads and Blackberrys. And they are all stay-at-home mothers. I contemplated getting an iPad for Christmas last year for all of five minutes. However, our home is small and my home computer is never more than a few feet away. And although the portability of an iPad is fantastic, I would probably never have an occasion to use it anywhere outside my home. It just didn’t make sense to buy one in the end.
One item I do carry with me daily is a cell phone. Don’t be fooled into thinking that I carry around some fancy technology with which to make phone calls to all my friends and family. My cell phone is over 10 years old. But it works just fine. It can make phone calls and accept text messages (but I never use it for texting). It even has call display! I make, at most, one phone call on it per day. So I don’t really have a need for a cell phone with all the bells and whistles.
It feels like a backlash might be starting against smart phones and whether they are completely necessary, or more a tool that can have a negative influence on our lives. The World Health Organization reported last week that cell phone use can possibly increase the risk of cancer. Rachel wrote a post this week about how her life has benefited from letting go of her iPhone. Katy from The Non-Consumer Advocate wrote a great post today titled, “Can You Be Smart Without a Smart Phone?” I would argue, yes. Here’s a few reasons why I haven’t bought into the smart phone culture:
- It’s expensive. I’ll admit I think iPhones are cool for all their capabilities and I even checked into pricing this past weekend. Whoa, Nelly. I don’t really want to spend several hundred dollars to own that little piece of plastic, nor do I dream of spending over a hundred dollars a month for connectivity. The cost alone is enough to deter me at this point, but there are other reasons why I’m not jumping all over a new phone right now.
- It would further enable to my love of the internet. I tend to spend a fair bit of my free time on the internet when I am at home, surfing or reading articles or blogs. If you were to hand me a device that allowed me to do that on the go, I’d be in real trouble. It might develop into a habit I wouldn’t be too proud of, so for that reason, I’m opting out.
- It doesn’t jive with my personal values. I don’t want to become one of those people that whips out their smart phone to begin texting someone else when they are in the middle of a conversation with a real, breathing person. I am not defined by my connectedness to the internet, but rather my connectedness to other people and the enjoyment I derive from spending time with others.
- I want to be present in my daily life. I want to appreciate the world around me, and that’s something I just can’t be fully conscious of if I have my nose buried in an iPhone when I am outside. I want to see my kids running on the playground and playing with their friends, and I don’t need to be taking calls or checking my email while I do that. I also want to set an example for my children that it’s important not to be tethered to a machine – it’s hard to set that example when you’re tethered to one yourself.
Maybe in the future I’ll reconsider getting an iPad or even make the leap to a smart phone with all the fancy apps. Who knows, maybe I’m missing out on an enlightened life by not owning an iPhone. But I’m okay with that. For where I am right now.
Do you own a smart phone? If so, do you feel it contributes to your life in a beneficial way?