Why I Am Dumping My Cell Phone

Can You Hear Me Now? by Jean-François Chénie

In three weeks my cell phone contract comes to an end. I will not be renewing it.

When I signed up for a contract three years ago, it was mainly to be able to talk to my husband. He was living in Mexico and having a smart phone allowed me to use Viber or Skype anywhere, anytime.

I purchased an iPhone for 49$. It wasn’t the latest model. I couldn’t have cared less. My contract included 200 minutes a month, 1 Go of data, a voicemail and a few other features. I never used more than half those minutes and data. I rarely listen to my messages and simply call people back. Furthermore, I generally text instead of calling. My phone is most useful to listen to music, take photos and check emails.

And recently, my phone and I have been developing a love/hate relationship.

I started asking myself why I should pay a ridiculously high price each month for a tiny mobile computer. For the amount I spend each month on my contract, I could get a monthly massage, go to New York twice a year, purchase comics every week… Or do the responsible thing and save.

Additionnally, I do think being constantly connected to social networks and the Internet in general is too much. I do enjoy meeting new people online, and being part of the blogging community, for instance, as I have stated before. But sometimes people go over board. It’s like the skin of their hand fused with their phone. We should enjoy the fresh air and the sights a little bit more often. Gary Turk puts it beautifully in this video.

Ecologically speaking, I feel uneasy with the disposability of cell phones. My headphones broke after about a year and a half. My charger doesn’t charge my phone anymore. The phone itself keeps slowing down even though I maintain it well. My service provider has been encouraging me to get a brand new phone constantly. But getting the brand new model would mean creating more pollution.

After words by Derek Midgley

Mobile phones we dispose of creating a sea of electronic garbage.

You may also have hear of the conditions in which the minerals necessary to build mobiles phones are extracted. Or the conditions in which workers make the phones. Like many industries, that of mobile phones involves ecological and human costs that are extremely high. 

And yet my decision is due to health factors, first and foremost. My iPhone cooks my ears. Whenever I put my phone to my ears to talk, they hurt. And they hurt for a while after I put down my phone. Why? Maybe because a cell phone is a teeny tiny microwave.

There is of course much debate about whether using a mobile phone can increase one’s chances of risks of being afflicted by cancer. Some sources I consulted stated that no significant data either confirms or contests the possibility that cell phones can cause cancer or other health problems (see this well-documented Wikipedia page and a Cancer Research Uk article). Other sources state the opposite. I don’t have the time to explore all the scientific literature on this topic, but frankly I would rather be on the side of caution.

And as I said, my ears hurt. That’s enough empiric data for me to put the phone down.

That is why I am putting an end to my  love/hate relationship with my mobile phone. I’ll keep using it to listen to music and take pictures, but no more contrat.

There is wi-fi almost anywhere now, and it’s not like I can’t use a laptop to call people. In any case, I have a phone at work and I can get a land line at home. That way I won’t have to worry about long distance calls so much. People can also leave me messages on Facebook or write me an email: that’s what most of my friends already do, in fact. Only 5 or 6 people call or text me (semi) frequently.

And anyway, my husband isn’t abroad anymore.

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