18 Comments
Nov 17, 2022Liked by Sarah Wheeler

I just adore your work.. .adore you, your family and your writing. I laughed so hard this morning, on a day when I was taking a mental health day from work and needed something so spot on and ridiculous all at the same time.. Hoping these end up in a collection of short essays at some point.. You are really good at what you do. Thank you!

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I love and relate to this so much--the whole arc of it really. Please share whether you're still on the dumb phone kick or whether you've succumb to the siren call of your smartphone once again.

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thanks!!! im still here! and loving it more than i was. it's a pain in the ass, but i can feel my brain is often just a little quieter, and im less irritable and have fewer neck strain headaches. all my friends hate me for it tho ;)

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Love CRJ and Nif! Loved this- hilarious and tragic saga.

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Nov 19, 2022Liked by Sarah Wheeler

When my 11-year-old was trying to make a deal with us to get a phone, I did some research on Old flip phones looking for one that would allow texting and calls but little else. The big sticking point was that I wanted it to be easy for her to listen to music, and that just meant it would have to be some kind of smartphone. We ended up getting a somewhat old iPhone x and putting various limitations on it. It's been far from perfect, probably too much screen time and lost focus, but here we are.

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i dont think anything is perfect!

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Your timing is amazing. My wife forwarded me your latest piece on the Light Phone. I was about to purchase it after beginning Digital Minimalism (which I'm considering making an all-church read during Lent, but I digress). Trying to find a phone that limits access to the web, while still allowing me to easily listen to music/podcasts and take/share pictures has been a challenge. Thanks for causing me to pause on my purchase! I may end up buying a phone designed for teenagers from GabWireless. I considered a flip phone, but it would have actually made my families monthly cell plan charges, more not less. Is the Light Phone really that bad? I think I know the answer, but I had to ask. Thank you also for your commentary on Cal's writing and viewpoint. I do have some concerns that he comes at it from a very male-centered worldview.

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yes, come to the light side derek! is it all that bad? i guess it depends on what you're trying to get out of having a dump phone. my dream would be easy texting, calls, maps, spotify, and a camera. that's not happening anywhere i think. im intrigued by the kind, cant remember where i read about it, that has web and apps but the screen is so small they are really annoying to use. i use my old phone, fyi, kind of like a shitty ipad, to take photos and listen to music. it's imperfect.

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Your dream is mine too. I’m looking into Wisephone as option, but not cheap!

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Sarah, thank you so much for this, which I am reading on my phone, which I promised myself I wouldn’t do in the morning, because that’s when my mind is clear in my phone messes up my mind. In all seriousness, thank you for pointing out the before/after pandemic phone relationship. That’s such an obvious reason why I am having difficulty with my phone now in a way I’ve never had before. And I’ve been on the Internet and social media forever.

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thanks for your comment asha! yeah i used to think that my phone was really all poison, but now it feels more complicated. plus one thing im noticing these past few weeks is that as a society we've moved a ton of things to being phone-operated that werent before the pandemic. like checking in my kid at daycare, ordering food, venmo, etc.

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Nov 16, 2022·edited Nov 16, 2022Liked by Sarah Wheeler

Great piece! Thanks for sharing this almost Taboo!

You already pointed out enough good reasons to dump a smart phone at least for a dumb one... But allow me to add another really good reason to sever yourself completely from these tracking devices:

https://www.predictwise.com/whitepaper

Scroll down to PW Case Study #3 – Real-time Data, PredictWise Covid-19 Score.

What do you think?

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This was great! I have similarly mixed feelings about Cal Newport, and I'm weirdly kind of relieved to know that a Light Phone isn't the answer to my phone problems. My friend Emily Mohn-Slate wrote this great piece for Romper about motherhood and her relationship to her phone: https://www.romper.com/life/why-limit-screen-time-moms-phones-digital-detox

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wow just the headline of this piece: getting rid of my phone would not make me fully present in my life cause i dont really wanto be." jeez. yup.

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omigod this was so good. " I want to be the mother who is present for her kids, who notices when they fall. But I also want to stay there, reading the Ada Limón poem, my mind in the space it used to go without telling anyone where it was going or when it would be back. What if my phone is not the distraction? What if it is my child who is distracting me from being present to other worlds? To myself?"

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isn't it great?! it's such a smart, nuanced take on phones and family and the idea of "being present"--a little more complex than our friend, Cal, as much as I've learned from his work in the big picture. (I always assume he's able to obsess about deep work because he's offloaded all the shallow work to his wife.)

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haha i imagine he has never even, like, seen a child :) yeah one thing i appreciate most about the romper piece is just being super open and explicit about behavior that other people, especially mom culture, frowns upon. she doesnt glorify the time on her phone, but she doesnt apologize for it either.

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Great question! I am a Dad, not a mother. But I do know the answer to this one!

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