Ever-nostalgic Gen Z-ers are resurrecting a bygone ghost of technology’s past: flip phones, or “dumb phones” of a bygone era that long predates the smartphone age.
“I think you can see it with certain Gen Z populations — they’re tired of the screens,” Jose Briones, a dumb phone influencer who moderates the r/dumbphones subreddit, told CNBC. “They don’t know what is going on with mental health and they’re trying to make cutbacks.”
Honestly? We get it. Kids today have grown up surrounded by more technology than older generations could only imagine, and while phones and social media have become integral to everyday life in a society-shifting way, a lot of recent research has suggested that constant exposure to screens and social media might actually be really, really bad for people — especially for young folks.
In short, reclaiming a screen-less, or at least a less-screened, life for yourself makes a ton of sense. We say: dumb phones for all!
According to CNBC, the apparent Gen Z affection for dumb phones isn’t quite as reflected in sales as it is in social media hashtags. Still, experts aren’t ruling out the idea that we might see an eventual uptick in sales.
That said, the dumb phone creep is also being reflected in a different way: the emergence of dumb phone-adjacent products like The Light Phone, which is marketed as a “minimal” — rather than, you know, stupid — alternative to smartphones.
“What we’re trying to do with the Light phone isn’t to create a dumb phone, but to create a more intentional phone — a premium, minimal phone — which isn’t inherently anti-technology,” Joe Hollier, cofounder of Light, told CNBC. “But it’s about consciously choosing how and when to use which aspects of technology that add to my quality of life.”
It’s a nice sentiment, although a decidedly wellness-ized take on the anti-smartphone movement.
The growing Gen Z affection, on the other hand, feels more like the result of an outright rejection of a quintessential symbol of modernity instead of a desire for a sleek reinvention of the cellphone.
So before you get too worried, the teens are — at least mostly — alright. Pray for the millennials instead, who are allowing their iPhones to turn them into sleep-derived crypt keepers.