By Roy Germano
Los Angeles Times
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Roy Germano shares how losing his smartphone helped him gain some real perspective on life and the true gift of connecting with friends and family.
Los Angeles Times
Just over a year ago, my pocket was picked while I was walking down a crowded sidewalk.
Although the thieves didn’t manage to snatch my wallet, they did take my iPhone. My first thought was to replace it right away. But I stopped myself and asked a simple question: Does owning a smartphone make my life better, or worse?
Most Americans take it for granted that smartphones make life better, but the research says otherwise.
Addictive apps are rewiring our brains, wasting our time and making it harder to focus. Social media make us more anxious and depressed. The light from our screens reduces melatonin and disrupts sleep. Distracted driving leads to more collisions and fatalities.
Worst of all, smartphones are making us forget how to have a conversation or sit and think without distraction.
Go to any restaurant these days and you’ll observe entire families staring at devices rather than talking to each other, or parents shoving screens in front of their kids’ faces rather than teaching them that life isn’t always entertaining.
I decided to try living for a time without a smartphone. Perhaps just a week, or two weeks. I was willing to give it a shot, so I bought an old, $30 flip phone at a pawn shop and began my post-smartphone life.
The benefits of this decision became apparent about a week after I made the switch. My wife, stepdaughter and I were in Washington visiting the new National Museum of African American History and Culture. For the first time in seven years, I didn’t have internet access all day.