Say goodbye to smartphones, Gen Z is using old flip phones to avoid social media

There is even a club to break free from social media and put devices in the box, as more and more teenagers begin to abandon technology.

This could be the first crack in the social media bubble. There’s more to Gen Z’s obsession with the 90s and 2000s. There is an intolerance for privacy fragmented by Instagram stories, scrolling that consumes days, and rates of depression that rise in proportion to the capillary spread of smartphones.

It all started as a fad, eBay-bought digital cameras, hipsters, apps that turn your smartphone into an iPod Classic. The new iconic object to disconnect from the world is the 96 flip phone, “because our smartphones are the cause of our tears,” and teenagers have found clubs to get rid of their iPhones.

Closed smartphones at home

Sammy Palazzolo is 18 years old and a freshman at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Getting ready to go out with friends in the evening, he almost always lets his smartphone scroll through the playlist of the moment. Then he puts on his coat, opens the door and leaves all the devices at home. All he took with him was a 1990s AT&T Flex flip phone. To feel more free.

Even his friends decided to lock their smartphones in their bedrooms, and in fact, in December, they all went to Walmart together and bought Tracphones for $19.99. “Take out all the bad things about college and bring in all the good things about a phone that communicates with people and takes pictures and videos,” said Palazzolo, who encouraged people to buy flip phones on TikTok. Over 14 million views and over 3 million likes.

“Many times our evenings would end in tears over an unwanted social media post or an old Instagram story, and our phones were the main reason,” Palazzolo told CNN.

Good luck on TikTok

He is not alone. More and more people on TikTok are filming themselves unboxing a flip phone case, flaunting the blurry aesthetic of a poor quality camera, and choosing colorful cases for their old phones. The new fashion has also attracted the attention of celebrities.

“I am a revolution. I’m on the flip phone team, maybe I can write the anthem for it,” singer Camila Cabello tweeted. Actress Dove Cameron explained: “I realized that I was spending too much time on social media and it was really bad for me, it was misleading. Now I found a small flip phone from the 90s, Matrix-y, I have a separate number.

Cell Phone Enemy Club

Luddite teenagers don’t want your likes. This is the philosophy of teenage clubs trying to get rid of their smartphones. Every Sunday, they gather on the steps of the Central Library in Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza to begin the weekly meeting of the Luddite Club, a group of high school students who promote a lifestyle free of social media and technology. 17-year-old founder Logan Lane chose to dedicate the club to Ned Ludd, the 18th-century English folklorist who is said to have destroyed the mechanized loom and inspired others to take his name and rebel against industrialisation.

“When I got my flip phone, everything changed immediately,” Luddite Club member Lola told The New York Times. “I started using my brain. It made me observe myself, I tried to write a book. “It all started when he was in prison, when his use of social networks took a disturbing turn. “I’m completely exhausted,” she said. I was able to take a nice picture because I didn’t have one. Finally, too tired to scroll through another perfect Instagram selfie, I uninstalled the app. But this was not enough,” he explained. “So I put my phone in the box. As the Luddite Manifesto says, these guys dream of throwing their iPhones into the Gowanus Canal.

depression on social media

Between 2004 and 2019, the rate of depression among teenagers nearly doubled, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services. A study published in the Italian Journal of Pediatrics found that between March 2020 and March 2021, overall access to emergency services for minors with pathologies of neuropsychiatric interest increased by 84%. In particular, visits for suicidal ideation increased by 147%, followed by depression (+115%) and eating disorders (+78.4%).

The Journal of Affective Disorders Reports wrote that young adults who use social media a lot are more likely to be depressed within six months, regardless of personality. “It is not yet clear whether social media use leads to more depression or whether these depressive symptoms cause people to seek out social media more. “However, the findings are important in an era of technological expansion,” said university researcher Renae Merrill. From Arkansas. “Virtually connecting with people can increase the risk of miscommunication or misperception, leading to relationship difficulties and the potential risk of mental health problems. »

The flip phone market is growing

“We attribute this shift to many smartphone users realizing they spend too much time on their devices and wanting to disconnect and be fully present to improve the quality of their social connections,” said Jackie Kates. Head of Marketing at HMD Global, developer of Nokia mobile phones.

“This is a generation that didn’t have a Nokia as their first phone and probably discovered our brand through social media,” adds Kates. “It’s definitely an unusual demographic for the company. »

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