Currently, in the US, demand for so-called “dumb phones” is growing. For “dumb” mobile phones that, unlike a smartphone, are not equipped with cameras or HD screens and do not provide access to downloading applications or social networks. American distributors of “dumb phones” currently report that their sales have doubled.

“Thank you for freeing me from my smartphone,” writes a user from the “Dumbphone community” on the Reddit platform. “Now I spend a lot more time with my son without distractions. And I read a lot more too!” Countless users agree with him. “I finally managed to fight my smartphone addiction. “I feel free and like a human being again,” enthuses another user. “I hope more and more people will join the dumb phone movement and escape the hell of doom scrolling.”

This also seems to be the case at the moment. Demand is skyrocketing, report the founders of dumbphone distributor Dumbwireless. From 2022 to 2023, they were able to more than double sales of their mobile phones, reports “The New Yorker” magazine. Forecasts for 2024 also indicate a further doubling. Sales figures for “dumb phone” maker “Light Phone” look equally promising.

Too much time in front of the cell phone causes anxiety, sleep disorders and depression

The reasons for the growing popularity of “dumbphones”: constantly new reports about the dangers of psychological damage caused by social networks, especially among children and young people. In addition, more and more studies are warning about the potential dangers of addiction of applications such as Instagram or TikTok. At the same time, parents, educators and psychologists observe a growing trend of anxiety, sleep disorders, depression and low self-esteem among countless young people, often directly related to the long hours spent in front of mobile phones and social networks. .

The founders of “Dumbwireless” were also addicted to their iPhones, as revealed in the “New Yorker.” Instead of sleeping, Daisy Krigbaum (25) spent the nights watching YouTube and Pinterest videos, while her partner Will Stults (29) wrote messages on Twitter for hours. Two years ago, they first tried to reduce screen time by using Apple's timer for a daily time limit, but with little success: the Screen Time Limit app was too easy to disable, they report.

Eventually, they came up with “dumb phones”: cell phones without the features they were so addicted to, like apps and video cameras. But acquiring this type of mobile phone turned out to be more complicated than expected. “There was not enough information about it and it was very difficult to get it. People who know more about dumb phones spend less time online,” Krigbaum says. Then the couple came up with a business idea and in 2022 they founded the company “Dumbwireless”, a sales company for customers who, like them, want to spend less time on their mobile phone.

“The first seven days were difficult. Now I like my life without a smartphone”

Among his company's best sellers are the “Light Phone”, a mobile phone without applications, and the folding mobile phone “Nokia 2780”. Another bestseller is the “Punkt” mobile phone from Switzerland. Last March, sales of $70,000 were double the same month last year, Stults reports.

The makers of the “Light Phone” have also been able to double their sales figures year over year since the company was founded in 2017, according to company founders Kaiwei Tan and Joe Hollier of Massachusetts in the “New Yorker.” . Its “Light Phone II,” launched in 2019, allows users to make phone calls and send SMS messages. It also has an alarm clock, calendar, navigation system and the ability to play music and podcasts, but it does not have access to social networks or streaming applications.

A project at one school where smartphones were banned and students were only allowed to use “light phones” proved so successful that 25 other schools now want to follow suit. In any case, young Americans seem to have the greatest need for “dumb phones,” say Tang and Hollier: the majority of their customers and potential customers are representatives of “Generation Z” (born between 1997 and 2012), they report.

“I've tried digital minimalism several times over the last few years without success,” said one Reddit user. He finally achieved it with the “Light Phone 2”. “The first seven days without a smartphone were difficult. But now I like my life without a smartphone. I enjoy walking without audiobooks or podcasts. Life has slowed down. But I even like the occasional boredom.”

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