These Teenagers are Powering Down their Smartphones

Disconnecting from technology and connecting with the world.

(DisobeyArt /

Smartphones are miraculous tools. This small metal box allows people to organize their entire schedule. With a device small enough to fit in your pocket, you can connect instantly with those on the other side of Planet Earth. You can learn a new language or how to play an instrument. The smartphone is a nexus to a world of possibilities, knowledge, and connection. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that there is still a world of possibilities, knowledge, and connection outside the smartphone as well. The “real world” offers beautiful, natural vistas, genuine human connection, and limitless opportunities for experiencing and learning. 

In order to connect to the real world, some teenagers are disconnecting from their smartphones, Business Insider reports.

The world outside your expensive little box
Deseret News cites a poll of teenagers and technology. According to the poll, 97 percent of teenagers have a smartphone, and 97 percent use the internet every day. 

Lola Shub, Business Insider reports, was one of these teens. She spent hours on social media and online, until a friend decided to get rid of her smartphone. Inspired, Shub also ditched her smartphone in favor of an old-school, 90’s era flip phone.

Shub explains the logic behind her life-changing decision, "If I have one overarching message for my fellow teenagers, it's this: Spend time getting to know yourself and exploring the world around you," Shub shares. "It's so much more fulfilling — and so much more real — than the one inside your expensive little box.”

The Luddite Club
To facilitate her exploration of the world around her, Shub joined the “Luddite Club,” a club named for Ned Ludd, an anti-technology activist in the 18th century, who destroyed two looms, Deseret News reports.

Shub shares the club with her counterculture Luddite friends, founder Logan Lane, Clementine Karlin-Pustilnik, and Jameson Butler, to name a few. 

Some members, like Shuba, eschew their smartphones in favor of a retro flip phone. Others still hang onto their “expensive little boxes.” But, all of them shut off their devices completely and connect with each other during weekly meetups at their local New York City library. 

At their meetings, the Luddite Club explores and experiences the world around them. They read, paint, talk, and journal. 

Flip phones making a comeback?
It isn’t just the Luddite Club members who are switching out smartphones for flip phones. CNN reports, flip phones are making it big across Gen Z social media platforms. A video on TikTok encouraging flip phones over smartphones, garnered three million likes.

Influencers, such as a singer, Camila Cabello and actress, Dove Cameron, showed off their vintage flip devices to their many followers. 

Cameron explained in an interview that she had made the choice because overuse of social media “is really bad for me.” 

According to cell phone manufacturer, HMD Global, more people are turning to flip phones as alternatives, or as secondary phones.

“We attribute this shift to many smartphone users beginning to recognize they are spending too much time glued to their devices and having a strong desire to disconnect and ‘be fully present’ to improve their quality of social connections,” Jackie Kates, HMD’s marketing head explains.

You don’t have to be a member of the Luddite Club or a Gen Z-er to hop on the flip phone trend. Deseret News cites a study that followed a group of people as they disconnected from their smartphones. The study found that, “conscious and controlled changes of daily time spent on smartphone use can contribute to subjective well-being (less depressive and anxiety symptoms, less problematic use tendencies, more life satisfaction) and to a healthier lifestyle (more physical activity, less smoking behavior) in the longer term.” 

To reap these benefits — health, happiness, and well-being, why not form a Luddite Club of your own? Switch off your device and spend time doing something that you love with the people you love. You won't regret it. 

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