Jim Thatcher, an assistant professor of urban studies at the University of Washington, Tacoma, didn’t replace his smartphone when it broke. Instead, and only because his spouse and daughter’s school needed to be able to reach him in an emergency, he switched to a flip phone.

The switch has been therapeutic for Thatcher. He responds to emails more slowly and is less attuned to the news now. He also doesn’t check his phone if he gets bored and he’s more purposeful about how he uses his time. “I’m more focused on the immediate world ar…
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