Technology is a funny thing. You live your life just fine without the latest upgrades. But then you decide to buy the latest gadget, and suddenly you can’t live without it.
Twenty years ago, cell phones were limited to use by businessmen. Then, within 10 years, cell phones became more common place. Now almost everyone has a cell phone, and, according to Pew Research’s latest data (from February 2012), “nearly half (46%) of American adults are smartphone owners.” In the 14 months since the article was published, I’m guessing we’re now well over 50% of American adults.
The Benefits of Smartphones
To be sure, smartphones are convenient. If you’re traveling, and you’re lost, there’s no need to stop at a gas station and ask for directions; your smartphone can get you back on track. If you want to try a new restaurant when you’re out but don’t know if it’s worth your money, just check reviews online with your smartphone.
Smartphones can save you money, too. Many manufacturers and retailers are releasing coupons that are only available via smartphone. You can use your smartphone to compare prices at stores and online before you make a purchase.
Smartphones can also help you sync your busy schedule with your family members.
Truly, how can anyone live without a smartphone?
The Downside of Smartphones
However, owning a smartphone is not always rosy. There can be a dark side to smartphone ownership.
Simply put, you can become addicted to your smartphone. I have a friend who, whenever she visits or comes over for a holiday meal, is there with us physically, but she’s actually light years away mentally.
She simply can’t put down her smartphone. She is always checking it, and she often retreats to another room to use her smartphone. Unfortunately, she seems to be the norm rather than the exception. You’ve likely seen moms at the park who are too engrossed with their smartphones to watch their children play.
Besides the addictive nature of smartphones, they can also be expensive. If money is not an issue for you, that probably doesn’t matter. However, if you are trying to cut corners, you need to evaluate whether the money you save using your smartphone allows you to recoup the money you spend to have a smartphone every month.
Reducing Your Smartphone Usage
Stepping down from technology can be difficult. If you decide to downgrade from a smartphone to a dumbphone, you’ll likely feel withdrawal. You may need a few months to adjust, but you’ll probably find more of your time freed up because you won’t be using the smartphone all the time.
However, if you decide to keep your smartphone, try to set up boundaries so you don’t let the technology rule your life. For instance, you might decide that you won’t bring your smartphone with you when you take the kids to the park or that when you come home from work at night, you’ll put the smartphone in a box and not use it until the kids are down for the night.
Do you have a smartphone? Have you struggled with how often you use it and how much it costs?