Could you imagine living without your smartphone for an hour? How about for the whole day or maybe even a full week? If the concept of being completely out of touch with your friends, as well as being unable to access your social media accounts whenever and wherever you want, gives you the chills, you’re not alone. The condition has even been given a name—nomophobia. Or simply known as no mobile phobia.
Research has suggested that we are so addicted to our cellphones that we check on them 150 times a day–the equivalent to once every 6 and a half minutes. This includes 22 calls received or made, 23 text messages sent or received, and 18 glances just to check the time! Never mind checking emails, social media notifications, playing games, and using apps.
And while people of all ages love their cellphone, it does seem to be young people who are particularly affected by the crippling symptoms of nomophobia. A survey in 2016 found that 50% of the teenagers questioned felt that they were addicted to their smartphones.
Somehow, some people have managed to break away from the curse of the cellphone, including the celebrities below. Could you manage to follow their example?
15. Elton John
Musical icon Elton John admitted in 2016 that he doesn’t even own a cellphone, although he does have an iPad for Skyping with his two children while he’s away touring the world. So, he’s not a complete technophobe. As the singer was quick to point out in an interview with US chat show host, Jimmy Kimmel, it’s not like he can’t afford one (obviously); it’s just that he doesn’t really see the need to have one. His partner, David Furnish, manages his Instagram page, while he has office staff who update his other social media on his behalf and who manage his email communications too.
14. Sir Ian McKellen
Despite playing a starring role in one of the most successful sci-fi franchises of all time, Sir Ian McKellen, who plays Magneto in the X-Men movies, has admitted that when it comes to real life, he is much less comfortable around technology. While he is happy to engage with the opportunities of the internet, he is rumored to prefer life without a cellphone and has admitted that he has never downloaded an app in his life, which is particularly strange when you consider that Sir Ian has actually made one. His app allows subscribers to listen to Shakespearean plays being read aloud by the great thespian himself.
13. Vince Vaughn
Dodgeball actor Vince Vaughn also seems to like dodging phone calls, especially when he’s out and about. He told US magazine in 2007 that he didn’t own a cellphone as he doesn’t like the fact that people can get hold of you whenever they want and that he prefers to call people himself when the time is convenient for him. Don’t get it twisted, though. He doesn’t have complete objection to using cellphones. Vaughn also told the magazine that he frequently borrows his friends’ phones to make important calls even though he knows they probably find it really annoying to hand over their precious mobile!
12. Casey Affleck
Although Oscar-winning actor Casey Affleck does own a cellphone, he tries to limit how much he uses it because he is worried about the impact these devices can have on one’s health. In fact, Affleck was so concerned about the damage he might be doing to his health that he threw his cellphone into the Hudson River rather than continue to use it, even though the links between cellphones and brain and testicular cancer have been well and truly debunked. It, however, seems that cancer wasn’t enough to keep Casey off the cellphones forever, and he soon bought a new handset, although he keeps his calls to a minimum!
11. Christopher Walken
Actor Christopher Walken may be known as a cult figure for his unusual roles, but he certainly doesn’t keep up with modern culture when it comes to technology and cellphones. He has admitted that he doesn’t own a cellphone or even have a computer at home, even though he appreciates both their possibilities when it comes to his own craft of acting. So serious is the issue that his agent has to contact him by sending a fax! When filming, though, producers will often insist he takes a free cellphone, so that he can be contactable at all times. But Walken always makes sure that he gives the device back when the project is complete.
10. Sarah Jessica Parker
Sarah Jessica Parker made the decision a while ago that she could either keep up with emails or she could keep up with calls, but she would drive herself crazy if she tried to do both. In the end, she decided to sacrifice her cellphone in favor of an empty inbox, keeping her handy Blackberry so that she can sneakily check, delete, and reply to emails even when she’s on set. SJP shares her aversion to smartphones with her most famous character, Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw, who was seen in an episode of the show failing to figure out how to work an iPhone.
9. Karl Lagerfeld
Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, who is creative director at the iconic Chanel brand, is another famous face who has decided that he can live without his smartphone. He believes that cellphones are one of the most damaging things in modern society, and he especially abhors social media and the ubiquitous selfies! If you’re rich enough to visit one of his stores, however, you might be surprised to see that every fitting room has its own iPad installed, to allow shoppers to take pictures of themselves in outfits they want to buy, so they can get a second opinion from friends later.
8. Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise is notorious for having a few crazy habits, although whether his Hollywood lifestyle or his devotion to Scientology is to blame, is up for discussion. In a 2007 interview, the actor revealed that not only does he not own a cellphone, but that he doesn’t even have an email address, and weirdly, he doesn’t own a watch either. Not everyone in the Cruise family has the same attitude to mobile phones. His ex-wife, Katie Holmes, was reported to have used a disposable cellphone to arrange her divorce from Cruise, without him or his Scientology buddies finding out.
7. Tyra Banks
Supermodel-turned-TV-presenter Tyra Banks seems like a thoroughly modern woman. Yet for many years, she refused to own a cellphone. In recent years, she has finally taken the plunge, but she still has strict rules about what she can and can’t access on her mobile phone. For example, while Tyra is happy to receive and send the occasional text and even check her social media from time to time, she refuses to use her cellphone to read and reply to emails, as she says she knows she would end up checking incoming mail every few minutes, leaving no time for herself or her family.
6. Simon Cowell
Some might argue that Simon Cowell doesn’t need a cellphone, as no one would want to speak to someone so grumpy! However, the reality TV show judge refuses to own a mobile phone, as he fears that being contactable at all times would leave him without a minute’s peace. Given that he has made the careers of so many music stars, who can blame him for being worried? It is worth noting, nevertheless, that TV’s Mr. Nasty isn’t averse to using cellphones, as he has borrowed from friends, family, and colleagues and was once pictured speaking on two handsets at the same time even though neither of them belonged to him.
5. David Sedaris
American author and broadcaster David Sedaris has managed perfectly well without a cellphone and has even refused to get an email address or even use the internet. He believes that email has killed off the art of letter writing, and as for cellphones, Sedaris maintains that not having one has never held back either his career or his personal life, as there is always some way of getting in touch with people when you need to. One of his producers bought him a cellphone once, during a run of shows, but he refused to even turn it on, insisting that he would be embarrassed to be seen using one.
4. Werner Herzog
Maverick film director Werner Herzog is somewhat an eccentric, so it is perhaps unsurprising that he has managed to resist the allure of the cellphone when everyone else has fallen for their charms. Not only does the German filmmaker not own or use cellphones, but he also didn’t even make his first landline phone call until he was 17 years old. Ironically, for someone who refuses to engage with modern technology, Herzog actually made a movie all about that very subject, the documentary “Lo and Behold,” about the power and influence of the internet in the 21st century.
3. Shailene Woodley
Millennials, those born in the 1980’s and 1990’s, are almost as obsessed with their cellphones and technology as teenagers. So, it may be surprising to learn that actress Shailene Woodley, born in 1991, no longer owns a cellphone. The Divergent star decided to ditch mobile phones when she found herself spending too much time interacting with people online, rather than enjoying the company of real people in a real community. Woodley says that her communication skills have improved since she made the decision to chuck her cellphone and that she speaks to new and interesting people all the time as a result.
2. Warren Buffett
Financier Warren Buffett does have a cellphone, but he often leaves it at home and tries to use it as little as possible. To further rid himself of the addiction that comes with cellphones, his handset of choice is one of the old Nokia flip phones, with no internet or email capability. According to Buffett, he never throws anything away until he has worn it out–usually after 20 or 25 years of use–which means that even his cellphone has a few years left in it yet! Of course, it’s easy for Buffett to reject cellphones, since he’s such an influential figure that people will go out of their way to find him.
1. Stephen King
Horror writer Stephen King’s 2006 novel, Cell, was the kind of story that would strike fear into the heart of any cellphone addict. In the book, a signal broadcast over the network turns users into zombie-like creatures, which the hero has to battle in order to find his son. What was most interesting about the publication was the writer’s introduction to the book, in which King revealed that he doesn’t use cellphones himself, although he doesn’t reveal whether he made that decision after scaring himself silly while writing Cell or whether he had always avoided mobile phones.
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