Dumb phones trending with young Americans opting for sovereignty over own lives

by WorldTribune Staff, April 24, 2023

Among the many tragic consequences created by lockdowns imposed by Covid tyrants was an increase in smartphone screen time that mental health professionals say led to massive spikes in anxiety, depression, and inattentiveness among young people.

Young Americans in droves are now in smartphone withdrawal and are replacing the source of their addiction with “dumb phones” such as flip phones, Light phones, and other “feature phones,” tech industry analysts say.

“We now have a robust body of evidence showing the adverse psychological and emotional effects of smartphone addiction,” Patti Garibay, founder of American Heritage Girls, a Cincinnati-based Christian scouting organization, told The Washington Times in an April 21 report. “Moving away from the screen and toward in-person communication and interaction benefits everyone, especially our young people.”

Kate Harner, New Jersey-based founder of TechDetoxBox.com, a website that advises parents on reducing screen time, said her 14- and 17-year-old children do not have smartphones. Harner pointed to a growing movement of parents restricting their children’s access to digital devices and social media.

“The luddite movement among the kids voluntarily switching to flip phones is probably small, because kids addicted to smartphones are unlikely to give them up,” Harner said. “But the parents’ concerns about smartphone addiction are almost universal, and the movement to protect the kids and their mental health is huge.”

Parents and young adults have also contributed to a growing market for sleeker handsets that look smart but are really dumb phones that offer nothing beyond calling and texting, the report said. Such minimalist phones keep users from gaining even the basic Internet access that comes with flip phones but without the embarrassment of carrying a clunky older design.

“My kids would rather have smartphones, and if you ask them, they will complain about me profusely,” Harner said. “However, today they have no depression or anxiety, get good grades, can look people in the eye and are voracious readers.”

HMD Global, the maker of Nokia phones, said sales soared last year for “feature phones” which have not been widely used since the first Bush presidency, the report said.

Young Americans are finding that “feature flip phones with fuzzy cameras and new-model minimalist phones from startup companies such as Light and Punkt are cheaper than smartphones and help them socialize with others,” Sean Salai wrote for the Times.

HMD Global reported sales in the United States of tens of thousands of premium 4G feature phones each month last year. The increase reversed a decade-long drop in global sales of “feature phones.”

“Feature phones are making a comeback with people craving simplicity and a way to escape digital fatigue by going back to basics,” Lars Silberbauer, HMD Global’s chief marketing officer, told The Washington Times. “We’re seeing older consumers who don’t want to deal with the perceived complexity of a smartphone, millennials who are drawn to the nostalgic appeal and consumers of all ages who are simply buying flip phones as a second or backup device.”

According to International Data Corp., the foldable phone market is expected to hit $29 billion in 2025. Most flip phones cost $30 to $300 — much less than the latest models of Apple’s iPhone, which retail at well over $1,000.

Flip phones that have become popular include the Nokia 2760 Flip and Nokia 2780 Flip.

Light, a Brooklyn, New York, startup company that makes minimalist phones, reports that its Light Phone II sales have grown on average 100% a year since the company first shipped them out in September 2019. Each handset sells for about $300.

“Most of our users convert to a Light Phone because they want to get hours of their lives back,” said Joe Hollier, a Light co-founder. “They are also fed up with Big Tech’s disregard to privacy and sneaky data collection, as well as the environmental waste of getting a new smartphone every year.”

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