Time Traveling With Technology


Angelina Simmons, Staff Writer

Ahh…the advantages of being dumb.

Dumb-phones–or flip phones–are coming back into style, but sophomore Eva Thomas is not on board with that. “I haven’t had a phone for very long compared to a lot of my friends,” Thomas begins. “But,  when I got one, I was open to a lot of possibilities that I didn’t have before.” Thomas continues, “Once I got my first iPhone, I had way more resources than I did previously that I wouldn’t have if I had a dumb-phone–or nothing.”

However, when Nokia re-released its 3310 handset in  2017, it resurrected a new market for this old device. In fact, one report indicates that Google searches for this phone and others like it jumped by 89% between 2018 and 2021. But, the proof goes beyond searches and into purchases. For instance, the New York-based company Light Phone records its strongest year in 2021, with sales up 150 percent from the year before.

So, what is it that is making these vintage phones popular once again? Simply put, these older phones offer perks that smart-phones cannot: a disconnect from social media and an increase in personal finances. In fact, dumb-phones cost far less than their smarter counterparts–averaging less than $100–because they do not require the advanced technology to do anything other than just being able to make phone calls. Also, disconnecting from the toxicity of the media–whether it be TikTok or FaceBook–can be healthy and improve one’s mental state dramatically.

On the other hand, smart-phones do perform tasks that simple flip phones cannot, such as providing internet services like Google Maps or FaceTime with friends and family. Owners can also read emails and be involved in group texts–something that is not an option on a dumb-phone. 

“If I did have a dumb-phone that couldn’t do all the things that my phone does now,” Thomas interjects while weighing the advantages, “I wouldn’t find as much enjoyment in it, which would ultimately decrease screen time and kind of in a way force me to interact more socially instead of through a device.” However, she notes some disadvantages, as well. “It’s not good to rely solely on your device for all of your social interactions. It’s still nice to keep in contact with people. For example,” Thomas clarifies, “for students in college, they can’t have video calls with parents on dumb-phones, which makes you feel more disconnected than you need to.”

Overall, people are really torn about the idea of going back in time with technology. Sometimes it can be worth it, but some of the things that are accessible are not expendable. Thomas says it best: “Ultimately, I don’t think it’s a good idea, but of course I’m biased. Phones are a very helpful thing…in moderation.”