Smartphones and data plans are expensive, so do I really need them? Or can I get by without?
Since learning that I’ve paddled my way out into an oceanic book project about the smartphone, several people have asked me variations of these questions over the last few months.
Truth be told, I’m not yet working on implications, but I have started a list of questions to ask.
So do I really need a smartphone?
- What does my smartphone cost me per year in the price of the device, insurance protection, covers and cases, and of course the monthly service? Is it worth it?
- Do I need mobile web access to fulfill my calling in vocation or ministry? Do I need mobile web access to legitimately serve others?
- Do you travel a lot? I think people who do travel extensively will ever need a smartphone for work and for navigating. Are there other ways to navigate?
- If you use your smartphone to hold your shopping e-coupons, how much money would you save without a smartphone data plan?
- Can my web access wait? Is my need for smartphone functionality replaceable with structured time at a laptop or desktop computer?
- Can I get along with a dumbphone with calling and texting features?
- Can I get along with wifi and an iPod or tablet? What would I lose?
- Can I just as easily listen to audio and podcasts in other ways? Through an iPod for example.
- Am I simply addicted to my phone? If so, can the problem be solved with moderation, or do I need to just cut it off?
- Do I want my kids to see me gazing at a handheld screen so much as they grow up?
If you answer yes, and the smartphone is a necessity in your life, then think about certain ways that you limit your time. Have you considered:
- Turning off all non-essential push notifications.
- Getting accountability from others.
- Telling your kids and spouse and friends to watch how your phone prohibits life and interactions.
- Asking for feedback based on what they see you posting online.
- And consider deleting your most time wasting apps (social media, games, etc).
But the surface has only been scratched. We all use our phones in different ways and I presume there are many more questions to be asked. Here’s where I need your help (and everyone asking these questions needs your help).
Tell us in the comments:
(A) What questions you would add to this list about whether or not to ditch the smartphone?
(B) What other scenarios in life would make a smartphone and data plan essential?
(C) For those who do legitimately need a smartphone, what other safeguards would you suggest or have found to be helpful?
Thanks for your input!