flip phone
Flip phones reigned in the 1990s and 2000s, and are seeing a comeback, along with other #Y2K staples, like disposable cameras and fashion trends. Image Credit: Shutterstock

There’s a reason why you may find more and more Gen Z-ers walking around with ‘dumb’ phones rather than smartphones.

Click start to play today’s Spell It, where we see a new trend that ‘retells’ the story of the 1990s and early 2000s.

In an age where technology is everywhere, are young people truly giving up their high-tech phones for ones that have absolutely no smart functionality?

According to a March 2023 report in the US-based news website CNBC, flip phone sales are seeing a dramatic rise in popularity in the US. This kind of mobile phone reigned in the 1990s and 2000s, and is seeing a comeback, along with other #Y2K staples, like disposable cameras and fashion trends.

One reason why the latest trends are seeing people switch off and hark back to simpler times, may be because of nostalgia. According to a report in Australia-based nonprofit news and commentary website The Conversation, marketers have realised that it’s a powerful way to evoke positive emotions; so much so that nostalgia marketing has become a recognised marketing strategy.

Flip phones are a great example – they take the user back to a time when life was easier and simpler.

Another reason why Y2K trends like ‘dumb’ phones seem to be on the rise may be because people are just tired of excessive screen time and want to experience a digital detox. According to US-based time tracking software company Rescue Time, on average, people spend three hours and 15 minutes on their phone per day. Individuals also check their phones an average of 58 times each day.

Excessive smartphone usage can result in a number of harmful side effects, from sleep disruption to increased levels of anxiety and stress. Constantly being online has also shown to reduce social connectivity and negatively impact social skills and personal relationships, according to a February 2016 report in the journal Environment and Behaviour. Add to this, decreased attention spans, and ‘text neck’ – discomfort and pain in the neck from consistently hunching over to peer at the phone – and you have a veritable cocktail of maladies.

There are still other reasons that give people cause to pause and even ditch smartphones altogether. The risk to privacy is a big one. Smartphones usually have a long list of advanced features, like cameras, GPS (global positioning systems), and mobile applications – all of which can store and access personal data. Many are concerned about data collection and the potential misuse of their personal information. What better way to get off the grid than by switching to a phone that cuts off any access to the online world?

Old-fashioned tech seems to be on the rise this year. But is it a trend that’s here to stay? Only time will tell.

What do you think? Play today’s Spell It and tell us at games@gulfnews.com.