Why don’t cell phone addicts turn them off?
There is, of course, endless discussion both online and in real life about people’s addiction to their smartphones and many solutions being proposed: apps that dampen your usage, social compacts among friends to cut back, boxes with time locks to hold the phone for a while, trained falcons that will snatch the phone from your hands if you pull it out of your pocket, etc.
But nobody ever suggests the easiest solution of all: Turn it off.
Your phone won’t buzz or ring if it’s off and you won’t be tempted to check it during moments of boredom if you have to wait 30-60-90 seconds for it to turn back on. It’s an easy solution, and it also lengthens the time between having to recharge the battery.
I turn mine off a lot – more than half the time. It’s off every night and most weekends, since it’s used almost exclusively for work. But I’m old and my smartphone habits aren’t ingrained. Furthermore I have a landline at home and one at work, so I’m not really cut off when the cellphone is off – cellphone-only people would probably consider that cheating.
It seems to me that the idea of turning off your smartphone is taboo; it disconnects you from modern reality in a way that’s almost shocking. To check that supposition I ran a wildly unscientific little poll on my Twitter account, which has about 1,400 “followers”, whatever that means. I got 31 responses and, as you see from the screenshot above, only 5 said they turned it off regularly.