Thursday, December 18, 2008

Why I dont own a cell phone

"You don't own a cell phone?"

People seem baffled when I tell them that even creeping into 2009 I do not own, never have, and hopefully never will own a cell phone. They seem even more shocked that I can communicate with the world around me, and fuction without a cellular telephone. 

"Why don't you own a cell phone?"

I do not think they are necessary. Weighing the pros and the cons, I find a lot more cons than I do pros. I do want to mention, that I think cell phones are increasingly amazing devices, and with each new feature I am continually impressed. The fact that we can own one device that is our calender, phone book, telephone, camera, internet, beeper, answering machine, calculator, alarm clock, daily planner, is asthonishing (i may be missing more, leave me a comment if I am). As impressed by the increasing cell phone technology as I am, I cannot help but see the numerous downsides to cell phones. I even create a list of ten reasons why not to own a cell phone

The things are scary to me on multiple levels. I'm terrified of cell phone using drivers who pay more attention to their conversations that the road, I'm terrified of the people that seem to have let their memory decay because they use their cell phones to look up any information, I'm terrified of the dependance of such a small tool, and terrified of the health risks that one can get from using a cell phone.

"Are Cell Phones the next cigarette?"

Have you noticed how cell phones have become widespread in our culture, kids in sixth grade are getting cell phones, and mass marketing campaigns target everyone. Meanwhile, the potential risks of using a cell phone are unclear and undefined. It sounds exactly like cigarettes in early 1900's. The flavor, coolness and calming effects began sweeping america  and europe while the consumer was oblivious to the damage being done from the added addictive poisons and other health deteriorating substances. No one knew the cigarettes were bad for your health. Cell phones have popped into our culture with such rigor, that I feel there must be some unknown or hidden health risks that are going to surface a few decades from now. Followed by a batch of 'truth is knowledge' ads explaining how cell phones give you brain tumors, or that cell phones have telepathic magnetic mind control devices that keep you addicted and dependant on your cell phone. None of which would suprise me.

"Here. It's for you"
Slowly I have watched a group of my close friends adopt cell phones into their lives. Only a few people I know do not cling to their phones like life perservers. I strongly support and advocate that cell phones are an unneeded expense, although usually I end up in a debate about how amazing and convenient cell phones are, and its an argument I am not going win. Some people are already too enticed into their magical devices that nothing I say can change their mind. You mihgt be one of those people. Skim though this next paragraph and decide if it does not sound easier to just drop the cell phone and go cell phoneless. 

"What the hell is a landline?"

That's right. I use a landline. The archaic form of telephone communication, and I even use one of those old fashioned answering machines. My phone has the basic services, costs me about 15 dollars per month, and I use it simply to take messages and make calls when I am home. I rarely need or want to call anyone from the car, a store or away from home and if I do I can find a phone without much trouble. At the same time I use my e-mail as my primary source of communication, this way conversations are recorded and easily accessed and can be answered when it is most applicable to me. I can also easily add links to information regarding the conversation I am having, "do you want to see this movie? (link) It is playing here (link to showtimes)." I often refer back to old conversation for certain information that I cannot access if the conversation was on a cell phone. If I am meeting a person I plan ahead, instead of calling them when I get there. I make plans and keep them, and try to always be on time. I use an alarm clock for an alarm clock, a calendar for a calendar and a camera for a camera. Imagine that. 

Maybe I am behind the times, but sometimes it is best to take a good hard look at the technology you are incorperating into your life and ask yourself is the cost and the risks worth it. Maybe it doesn't cause cancer...... but maybe it does. Maybe they don't track your cell phone from satellittes, but maybe they do. Is it worth it to not really know? It is like a lottery, in which you are putting your future on the line for the temporary benefits of a cell phone. 

Cell phones are not worth the risk to me. 

Make sure to check out the ten reasons why not to own a cell phone


The Empty Envelope said...

I agree with you. I have one. It's pretty archaic, rather large, doesn't take photos or do much of anything except make calls. It has applications, but I don't use them. They're not very real to me with my Asperger's.

I use a pay as you go phone. We spend about $25 every other month, mostly for the reason that both kids have peanut allergies and go to a non peanut free school. There have been a few incidences.

But otherwise, I only use it to occasionally call my husband and sister. It's rarely charged

I get lost a lot in the Twin Cities but more often than not, I've managed to figure out how to get home. Landmarks, street names, heck, even the sun, have all pointed the direction.

Anonymous said...

I applaud you for being cell-phone free in 2008! I recently decided I was going to go into cell phone rehab and show people you can live without this technology. It's an inspiration to see that others are also actively pursuing this. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I really wish I never bought a cell phone. We are essentially slaves to a device, and to the corporations that promote them. People don't stop to think about how we lived prior to the year 2000, before cell phones started becoming popular. Now it seems that is hard to live without a cell phone but that's only because we've conditioned ourselves to this lifestyle, and the corporations have gladly enabled it. This is a multi-billion dollar industry and its not hard to see why the corporations have fought to prevent any negative press about their star product. People need to wake up and smell the coffee, but I'm not holding my breath.

Anonymous said...

I like the things you've said. I am going to get rid of my cell phone. I have never liked it and am tired of people "putting me at their convenience". When they can call you anytime, your time is not that valuable to them. When they have to make actual efforts to connect, they value the time you give them much more. When I take my cell phone with me, my family never talks to me face to face and hardly ever calls. When I start leaving it at home and on the other side of the house where I can't hear it, they blow up my phone and hunt me down to find out why I am not utilizing my phone. They don't like having to actually set aside time in their day for me and make efforts to connect. If they turned all that frantic energy into excitement over getting time with me: my time would become a commodity, our conversations would be more enjoyable, and I think we would actually talk MORE. It's 2013 and I'm putting the phone in the past.