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Could you give up your mobile phone? Lancashire man who has done just that, talks about the liberating experience

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Three quarters of the population own a smartphone, even in the most remote parts of the world mobile phone useage is common, but one Lancashire student has decided to hang-up on the nation’s favourite pocket-filler.


It started as an expensive gadget, about the size of a large housebrick, and was seen only in the hands of city yuppies and Del Boy Trotter.

The world is in the grip of a mobile phone obsession, but student Henry Calvert, pictured inset, has decided to opt out. Much to his chagrin, Henrys picture was taken on a cameraphone

The world is in the grip of a mobile phone obsession, but student Henry Calvert, pictured inset, has decided to opt out. Much to his chagrin, Henrys picture was taken on a cameraphone

More than two decades on, the mobile phone, particularly a smartphone, is an indespensible tool of everyday life.

Its ability to make calls dwarfed by countless apps and internet connectivity at all times, means few of us would like to be without our phones.

However, for one 20-year-old Lancashire man going without a mobile phone has been a liberating experience.

Student and freelance photographer Henry Calvert said: “Sure, having a phone can make you feel safer, but it can also shut you off from social interaction. Personally I have found it affects my confidence when speaking to new people as I’m so used to communicating via text – that’s why I don’t have one.

“Due to breakages and mishaps I tend to go through phones quite quickly, so the decision initially wasn’t a choice, I simply couldn’t afford another.

“However, after a while I grew fond of the idea, no more stressful messages, no more push notifications keeping my eyes glued to the screen wherever I go, and if there’s anything to worry about, I now worry about it when I’m home on my laptop instead of when I’m enjoying my day.

“If anything, having a phone has improved my life, it’s made me more punctual as there’s no ‘I’m going to be another 10 minutes mate’ texts; if I say I’ll be somewhere I’ll be there on time.

“I found that because I was using my phone all the time, I was relying on texts and Facebook messenger as my main means of communication, when faced with actually having to call someone I would struggle at times, whereas now I’m forced to do it and I think it’s made me a far more approachable person.

“With Snapchat maps and similar apps allowing your friends to constantly know your location and when you’re online, hasn’t it gone a little too far?

“I have no interest in checking where my friends or significant other are all of the time and feel people who do must live quite sad lives, not the sociable ones they like to show.

“I believe that this is especially a worry for children, who are now given unrestricted access to phones quite early.

“This need to constantly check in on friends and partners could potentially instill unhealthy relationships in children as they could feel left out or as though they’re being ignored if someone has been ‘active’ but not responded to their messages, something they really need not worry about.

“The only times I feel as though I truly need a phone are when working remotely or without access to the internet altogether.

“In this case I tend to purchase a cheap one from the market for calls and texts only, one I’m not worried about losing or damaging when I’m out enjoying myself, because what is really important enough to interfere with that?”

• One in three UK adults has argued with their partner about using their mobile phone too much.
• The rows were most common among 25-34-year-olds the report found, while 11 per cent of over 65s admitted arguments about overusing phones.
• About a tenth of respondents to the BBC survey admitted using their handsets “always” or “very often” while eating at home or in restaurants.
• A third said they regularly used their devices while with friends or watching television.
• One in three UK adults - and half of 18-24 year olds - said they checked their phones in the middle of the night, with instant messaging and social media the most popular activities.
• One in 10 smartphone owners admitted reaching for their phone as soon as they woke up - with a third grabbing the device within five minutes of waking.