Opinion: Elizabeth Davies on why she doesn't want to be dependant on technology and smartphones

Opinion: Elizabeth Davies on why she doesn't want to be dependant on technology and smartphones

By Elizabeth Davies

Some people tend to embrace technology with open arms, they want it, they need it, want to know how can it make their lives better, or faster, or more entertaining. Me, not so much.

I wouldn’t call myself a techno-phobe, I’m not afraid of it. I’m not convinced that wireless vacuum cleaners are going to rise up and take over society under the guise of ‘protecting us from ourselves’. I am however suspicious and admittedly reluctant to find myself dependant on technology.

For a number of years I carried around a Nokia 3315. If you weren’t lucky enough to have one of these, they are incredibly basic and reliable phones. No colour screen or touch screen and capable of surviving two flights of stairs and three toilet submersions. Best of all, they were worth nothing, practically disposable.

They were capable of texting, calling, and providing a great alarm clock. They also featured ‘snake’ an incredibly underrated game providing fantastic bus ride entertainment – none of this watching the latest episode of Breaking Bad on your iPhone and awkwardly laughing out loud whilst surrounded by irritable strangers.

My ultimate decision to get a smartphone (second hand, from a friend) earlier this year was unfortunately out of necessity. When it comes to employers, lecturers, editors and even sometimes friends, not being near a computer is no longer a valid excuse for not replying to urgent emails.

I can’t imagine what I would do now if, in casual debate, I needed to prove my completely irrelevant point and was not able to Google, or console a heart-broken friend with a picture of a pug awkwardly climbing stairs in a party hat, or a cat riding a vacuum cleaner and being chased by a duck. Such things are practically human rights.

There are some things however I still cannot truly grasp. For example, the i-phenomenon. Every few months a new iPhone, pad, limited-edition ‘iHeart tea-towel’ set is released and the people flock to their nearest Apple store to oooooh and aaaaah and wait in a line for three days in order to be the first to throw their money at a product that is, of course, much better and more advanced though no one is really sure how.

Perhaps it is the half inch larger screen that means it will never again fit in your pocket and awkwardly requires one and half hands to use. You can understand the people’s need for this shining beacon of practicality. The now out-dated iPhone 17 is of course worthless, a glorified coaster.

The only thing that is admittedly regrettable, is the inability of teenage girls to take a selfie of their iPhone, with their iPhone (don’t be ridiculous, this can be done with simple mirror tricks).

The smartphone has become one more thing in your life it would be really unfortunate to have stolen, or left in a bar, or the back of a cab as you dutifully totter through your front door on uncomfortable heels.

Now, in latest developments it can be even more expensive to lose your smartphone when it becomes a mobile wallet. Because if you’re going to lose a $1,000 phone, why not also lose the remaining balance of your bank account? This special ability excludes iPhones as they don’t have the capable technology, their only endearing feature.

The move towards contactless payment and mobile wallets is a sad and scary one in my opinion. Cash is barely acceptable as payment for a bus ticket – take note of the driver’s heavy sigh and rolling eyes. It seems that before long coins will be a novelty, reserved for assisting in making difficult decisions (do I want the new iPhone in black, or the Samsung S10 in pink with diamantes?).

Or perhaps we will only use them to scratch our weekly lotto ticket, a lucky habit that will help us win big – just be sure not to ask for your winnings in cash, it’s incredibly unfashionable.


*Elizabeth Davies is a 23 year old post graduate journalism student at Auckland University of Technology. She lives with her partner in Epsom and spends her free time refurbishing vintage furniture and attempting to bake while fighting a daily battle against her bank balance. She writes a weekly article for interest.co.nz on money matters and financial struggles from a young person's perspective.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current comment policy is here.


Comment Filter

Highlight new comments in the last hr(s).

I obvserved on the train this morning that virtually all the kids (high school students) had a smart phone. Sinking $1000 into your kid's cool factor seems stupid. Not to mention they run the risk of cyber bullying.

I suspect it depends on the train....
"cyber bullying" Im afriad if you dont have such cool gadgets you are a nobody. Not saying thats right, obviously it isnt, but I think you'll find decile 10+ and private school kids think very much like that. No expensive phone, you are just trash.

Back in the Mesozoic pre-iPhone age of dinosaurs, observed 6 secondary school girls on the train, on their way to school, sitting on those upholstered bench-seats, 3 to a seat, sitting opposite one-another, facing one-another, all with their mobile phones in hand, frantically texting one-another, not a word was said.

IGadgets can often by locked at firmware level.
Recently I left my iPad at the Auckland Airport.  Jumped on a friends PC and locked it down remotely.

Even a reflash/factory reset would only restore the device to tabula rosa state, as soon as the device reconnected to the iCloud it would lock itself back down and every time it was started it would come up "This iPad has been reported as lost".
 The iCloud tracks the serial number.  When the device gets within Internet/Wifi range, it immediately checks the listings to see that it's not been reported.  If it's reported lost, it updates the iCloud GPS so iCloud knows where it is, and the device relocks itself.

Correct password unlocks it in seconds.

Bigger danger is not stolen smartgear, it's kidnapped and ransomed back.

Time for a grammar lesson: "dependant" is a noun, whereas "dependent" is an adjective.
A "dependant" is a person, who is dependent on someone else. For example, a child is dependent on its parents; a child is a dependant of its parents.
The word "dependent" means relying onsupported by,or addicted to.
In American English, the same word "dependent" is used in all situations.
Both of the occurrences of "dependant" in this article should be "dependent", regardless of whether British English or American English is used.

Ahh well, can't get it right every time though I am trying. I'm sure you will forgive a grammatical error here and there :) cheers, Elizabeth

I'm with Pythag.  I admit though that I have very bad grammer and spelling at times.  But it's good to learn some.  I've just done some lengthy writing, with lots of dependant/dependent there.  And I had no idea of the difference.

Whoops. Above.   Apparently I should not be starting a sentence with 'And'.  Sigh.

Apparently you are allowed to start a sentence with an " And " .... I guess it depands upon your point of view ...
... as for your bad grammer , we'd have to ask your grandpa about her  !

It is near on four years since I had a cell phone and probably fifteen since I have worn a watch. Quite liberating and life is better without either.

Your access to our unique content is free - always has been. But ad revenues are diving so we need your direct support.

Become a supporter

Thanks, I'm already a supporter.