Hello everyone, hope you are all well! Recently I gave a little talk at my church about my phone history and I thought it would be good to share my experiences with my smartphones and the decisions I’ve consequently made because of them.
For the first 2 years of university I had an iPhone 5, and I used it a lot!! So much so that I knew more about the latest football gossip, than what was going on in my maths lectures. My use of it was so excessive, that by the end of its ‘lifetime’ I would sometimes need to charge it 2 or 3 times a day because I’d destroyed its battery life over the course of those 2 years.
This, and some of the reasons I will go into shortly, led me to make an interesting decision by many peoples standards in modern day society. I changed my iPhone for a Nokia 130, A.K.A. my brick phone!
It can text, make calls, it has Snake and a torch; and it provides me with a valuable tool to make awful jokes with, which some readers may have unfortunately been on the receiving end of!
But, as surprising as it may seem, these weren’t the main reasons why I signed up to my Nokia brick! In this blog, I’ll explain 3 of the main reasons behind why I went back in time with my phone choice, and maybe mention a couple others.
Being Present When Present
So the first reason is being present when present. Over time, particularly towards the end of my iPhones contract, I started to notice that I’d find myself paying more attention to my phone than to the people I was around and supposed to be spending time with. It began to bother me that I’d miss parts of conversations because I was looking at my phone and that when I’d be out with my friends, we’d all be present without being fully ‘present’.
Now I don’t know about you, but when I was growing up, my parents tried their best to teach me the right and proper way to act towards people. One of those things involved being respectful to others and, at school in particular, that meant looking at the person that was speaking to you. By looking at them whilst they were speaking, it indicated that you were listening to what they had to say and so were being respectful of their opinion.
I see it as being the same for Christians, and in fact the whole of society! As brothers and sisters in Christ, we should try to honour and respect each other with the love of God as much as humanly possible. By giving your full attention to those around you, you give them the respect they deserve as your heavenly siblings. By giving your full attention to those around you, you can be present when present.
My iPhone was a barrier to me giving this attention. The distraction of social media and gaming got in the way of me trying to pay my full attention to those around me. So I made the conscious decision to remove that distraction. Now all that can get in my way is snake, and as classic a game as it is, it isn’t as appealing to me as interacting with the people around me! I can pay my full attention to those around me without being distracted by the high speed world of the internet.
Pocket Sized Temptation
Speaking of the internet that leads me nicely onto point two, which I’ve colourfully called ‘pocket sized temptation’. Something I have struggled with for a number of years is an unhealthy relationship with pornography, and I’m still battling it to this day but in short I’ll say God has brought me a long way in terms of restoring the brokenness it has caused inside of me.
The main source of my consumption was through the internet, and as you’ll know, most modern smart phones have good access to the internet. In fact with my iPhone contract, I had unlimited 3g and then 4g remote access to the internet, so I didn’t even need Wi-Fi most of the time. This meant I had unrestricted, unsolicited, unlimited access to the world of online porn.
Which by the way, according to a recent study, takes up 4% of the internet’s web pages, but accounts for around 30% of the entire worlds web traffic! That’s like a third of the time the internet is being used, it’s being used to view porn. It’s an issue that is growing at a rate of knots, and one I was caught up in.
With my iPhone, it was too easy to make a quick google search before going to bed and end up at a page I shouldn’t have been on. The internet speed I had and the quality of my iPhone made it a perfect tool for the devil to use against me.
(DISCLAIMER I’m not trying to say smartphones are things of the devil, but he’ll use our weaknesses to distance us from God and he did that with me and my iPhone)
As I began to overcome my issues with porn, some people I talked to advised me to use various accountability apps like covenant eyes, which are great, but in my circumstance I decided to take matters into my own hands and get rid of part of the problem altogether.
In medicine, it is said that the most effective and cheapest method of dealing with an illness is not to treat it when it gets bad, but to prevent it from happening before it can become an issue! That’s why when we were kids we had a load of jabs so that we wouldn’t needlessly get ill with what are actually pretty basic diseases.
That’s why once my iPhone contract ran out I decided to take the step to remove this temptation altogether. By having my Nokia brick instead of the iPhone, it took away a very powerful tool that the devil used against me. It was a very physical, and important step for me on my road to recovery from the effects of pornography.
Money, money, money!
The final main reason behind my choice of phones was financial. As a student, you don’t always have tonnes of money to throw around. Stories of eating just baked beans for weeks on end and finding new ways of wearing your underpants multiple times to avoid paying for a washing machine were not money saving methods I tried, but I still didn’t have much money over my university life.
I tried to save money were I could, which is why when I had the opportunity to save money, when my phone contract ran out, I decided to give it a try!
Being a mathematician, I have decided to do a bit of simple maths to put this is some kind of perspective! I was spending £29 a month on my iPhone for two years, that’s a total of £696 spent on my phone during that period. Now my Nokia is just £7.50 a month, which during the same period gives a total of £180 spent on phone bills. That’s a saving of £516 over two years, or in percentages a reduction in my phone bills of almost 75%! You could buy 0.0006 Paul Pogba’s with that!!
I have certainly felt the financial burden of my phone bill lift since I switch to the cheaper option. I can now pay rent and bills much easier. It allows me to save better or to spend on other things I otherwise couldn’t have done so easily. It’s also allowed me to start putting that money towards other, more beneficial things like charity.
So those were the 3 main points of why I gave up my smartphone for my Nokia brick. There are some other reasons that I may or may not have touched upon here that were a factor as well, like being able to disconnect from technology so as to take in my surroundings fully and enjoy the joys of God’s creation, and also the fact that it gives me a wonderful sense of unavailability that means I’m not always seeking the attention of others but can enjoy some quality time with myself and God.
These reasons may resonate more with you than the ones I’ve gone through, or there may even be other issues you have with technology, but for me the main reasons were the 3 I’ve gone through: being more present, taking away temptation and saving money. I hope me sharing my experiences with my phones has given you some food for thought and might make you think about what you are putting into and getting out of your smart phones.
Thanks for reading, hope to see and speak with you soon! Nathaniel