People buying ‘dumb’ phones to kick their social media addiction

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Sales of “dumb” phones are growing as people get sick of being constantly buzzed by social media.

That’s the name given to feature phones, retro-style handsets that lack the “smart” tech in modern-day smartphones.

Data shows that the average American spends nearly three hours per day on their smartphone. And this growing obsession with staying online may be linked to a major change in the way we buy gadgets.

According to Counterpoint Research, the global smartphone market grew by 2 percent last year – to 1.6 billion devices shipped.

But worryingly, it shrank by 5 percent in the last quarter of 2017.

Meanwhile, sales of feature phones rose to 450 million devices in 2017, which is a promising 5 percent jump.

Counterpoint’s Shobhit Srivastava said the issue is linked to the “upgrade rate of users,” suggesting people are less willing to fork out for pricey new blowers – when their current mobiles work just fine.

But people simply can’t seem to switch off with smartphones, either.

Dr. Daria Kuss, a chartered psychologist who studies the “compulsive use” of smartphones, has warned that users can develop a genuine addiction.

“They may be aware that they’re using it too much however they can’t stop themselves,” Kuss told Sky News.

“They may be afraid to miss out on anything that may be happening on their social media channels being one of the reasons why they use it compulsively and this may lead to symptoms that have been associated with addiction like withdrawal, preoccupation and loss of control.”

Sky News spoke to one Brit who had bought a “dumb” feature phone to use and who said her pestering smartphone was to blame.

“I just hated the fact that I was always on it,” said Mark Erskine. “My friend said the other day, ‘you check it 150 times a day’. You’re always on Facebook pages and Instagram and you’re just on everything.

“And the more you do it, the more you feel like you need to do it.”

She said she hadn’t gone “full cold turkey,” because she still had an iPad – but said the feature phone had given her more choice.

“If I want to go out with just the dumb phone then you can make a choice and have a day without all the noise of all the notifications and apps.”

Tech companies are becoming more aware of the fact that their customers are worried about their phone usage.

Earlier this year, Apple introduced a new feature called Screen Time that lets you track time spent on your handset.

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