Keeping Your Smartphone Out of the Bedroom
These posts describe my digital privacy journey. Some decisions were mistakes in hindsight, but I want to show all the steps I took.
I decided to charge my smartphone in the living room and buy an alarm clock for the bedroom. At some point, the reasons I was coming up with for charging my smartphone in the bedroom stopped making sense. Having all of the Internet and all your social connections and notifications within reach is not conducive to a restful night's sleep.
Like any computer, a smartphone is a multi-purpose machine. While convenient, having all these tools integrated into one small device you can hold in your hand makes interacting with it incredibly addictive.
Buying a physical alarm clock was an easy way to extract one of those tools from my phone, reducing my dependency on it by just a little. I took that process further, replacing some of the apps I relied on with single-purpose devices:
- I switched to reading on a Kindle, and later bought printed books
- I played video games on a portable device (3DS!) and on a console
- I bought a secondhand digital camera
- I downloaded music and podcasts onto an old iPod Nano
Each device has its own power and data management, and all of that takes more time, usb cables, sd cards and chargers. The iPod began to show its age, becoming increasingly less compatible with my computer. (I ended up switching to an old smartphone I wiped and used only for music and podcasts).
Most e-readers require buy-in to mega online stores like Amazon, and reading paper books requires the use of a nightlight.
Current use and looking ahead
Of all the changes I have made in an attempt to find privacy and freedom from networked devices, this has been the simplest to implement and the most impactful. Removing your smartphone from your bedroom creates an immediate peace of mind and relief; it just feels great to know that for an uninterrupted stretch of 6 to 8 hours each night, you will be truly disconnected and undisturbed. I cannot recommend it enough.
I have stopped using a reading light and now read in the living room.
As a parent, removing smartphones from bedrooms is a fairly easy and clear rule to implement for your children. Apparently, Bill Gates had this as a rule for his children. I think I will write about that next.
I have since moved on to using a Light Phone 2, a hybrid between a smart and 'dumb' phone. I will write a separate post about that decision and experience.
This one doesn't require any documentation I can think of. Moving the phone charger out of the bedroom is all that is required.
Reading through my old journals, I found this 2018 article: "Abstaining from smartphone use in the bedroom improves happiness, according to new research".
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