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Why Dumb Phones Are Making a Comeback Among Gen Z: ‘Tired’ of Screens

Photo from Alexander Andrews on Unsplash

Why Dumb Phones Are Making a Comeback Among Gen Z: ‘Tired’ of Screens

By Movieguide® Contributor

Flip phones, also known as dumb phones, are making a comeback among Gen Z as some look for options other than smartphones. 

“I think you can see it with certain Gen Z populations — they’re tired of the screens,” said Jose Briones, dumb phone influencer and moderator of the subreddit, “r/dumbphones.” “They don’t know what is going on with mental health, and they’re trying to make cutbacks.”

Movieguide® frequently reports on how screens and social media affect young people.

“Social media is not the direct cause but rather the correlation between the spike in depression and its use. The basic human to human interaction has been lost on many levels through social media.”

As certain members of Gen Z begin to recognized the detrimental effects screens and social media have had on their lives, they have chosen to use phones similar to those used in the early 2000s. 

“Companies like HMD Global, the maker of Nokia phones, continue to sell millions of mobile devices similar to those used in the early 2000s,” CBNC reports. “This includes what’s known as ‘feature phones’—traditional flip or slide phones that have additional features like GPS or a hotspot.”

Flip phone sales for HMD Global were up in the U.S. in 2022, selling tens of thousands each month. 

“In North America, the market for dumb phones is pretty much flatlined,” said Moorhead. “But I could see it getting up to 5% increase in the next five years if nothing else, based on the public health concerns that are out there.”

Gen Z’s interest in escaping screens and smart phones has resulted in new companies catering to the trend, “selling devices geared toward those with a desire to spend less time on their phones and social media.”

“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,” said Joe Hollier, co-founder of Light. “But it’s about consciously choosing how and when to use which aspects of technology that add to my quality of life.”

Movieguide® previously reported on how social media has affected Gen Z: 

Today, 97% of teenagers are online at some point every day and almost 46% are online for a majority of the day, the study reports.

Jean Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State University and author of iGen, echoes the study’s findings.

“There is a substantial link to depression, and that link tends to be stronger among girls… The more time the teen, particularly a teen girl, spends using social media, the more likely it is that she will be depressed,” Twenge told the Daily Wire.

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