Nova Scotia

Handful of Nova Scotians rebel against cellphone ownership

A staunch group of Nova Scotians refuse to use cellphones because of the intrusion they cause.

'It has offered the promise of freedom to us, but really the technology has been quite enslaving'

Some Nova Scotians are staying away from cell phones and say they're living a better life because of it. (CBC)

Despite the push from cellphone companies to entice people to get their hands on the latest and greatest smartphone, people like Tony Nader are dead set against buying one.

The middle-aged man said he has a landline at his work and home and if anyone needs to reach him they can call him, if he's not at either of those places, his time is his own. 

Nader said he's never run into an emergency where he needed a cellphone and isn't worried that he will. 

"I think it's an anti-social device," said Nader.

He thinks people spend far too much time engrossed with their phones, when they should be engrossed in the world around them. 

Tony Nader works at an optometry clinic in Halifax and likes talking to people face to face. He says when people are constantly on their cell phones they miss out on real conversation. (David Burke/CBC)

"I admire kids and dogs because kids and dogs live in the moment and as a society, I don't think we do," said Nader. 

"We record the moment. I think we take pictures of the moment and put them on Facebook, I'm not sure we're all living in the moment. But I try to live in the moment."  

Number of people without cellphones shrinking

A staggering number of Canadians now own cellphones.

According to the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association, as of 2015 there were 29,202,796 wireless subscribers across the country. Statistics Canada said for the same year there were only 35,851,800 people in the whole country. 

That means a lot of Canadians own a cellphone, but this isn't a story about the masses, this is a story about the rebels who choose to go cellphone free. 

"There are a handful of rebels out there that just say you're not going to make me conform and I'm not going to comply to your wishes," said Micheal Mulvey, a marketing expert at the University of Ottawa.  

"In a way, hats off to them because there's not that many people who are these free independent thinkers." 

Meet the rebels

Lola Cardona doesn't look like much of a rebel, she's a soft spoken 14-year-old girl.

In her group of friends, she's one of the only people who doesn't own a cellphone. 

It's not that Cardona's parents don't have the money or that they've refused to get her one, she just doesn't have much interest in them. 

14-year-old Lola Cardona loves reading and volunteering but isn't all that interested in owning a cell phone. She's one of the only teens she knows that doesn't own a phone. (David Burke/CBC)

"My cousin, I visit them in the summer, and she'd be up on her phone all night and I wouldn't be able to go to bed because the sound would be on," said Cardona. 

"My friends, if I'm talking to them, they'll usually put their cellphones down, they're polite. But I have seen times where people are using their cellphones while someone else is trying to talk to them and that's a little bit rude I think." 

In her spare time, Cardona babysits and volunteers in the community. She says a cellphone would only benefit her by allowing her babysitting clients to call her directly. 

For now, she's not interested in spending her hard-earned babysitting money on a cellphone. She'd much rather use that cash to see movies with her buddies. 

Enslaved by cellphones

Seventy-year-old Michael Nee used to own a cellphone until he retired in 2003. When he left work, he left his cell behind too. 

Nee believes all the beeps, buzzes and alerts from phones turn people into a version of Pavlov's dog. 

"I'm sure it becomes to the point where it wears on you to the fact that you're no longer making independent decisions. You're just responding to a stimulus," said Nee. 

Nee said he doesn't hate cellphones, but he doesn't like them either.  

"I just don't like the potential intrusion on your life that a cellphone provides." 

Marketing expert Michael Mulvey says may be time for more people to join the rebellion and give up their cellphones, at least temporarily.  

"It's time to reclaim the personal space and give technology a break. It has offered the promise of freedom to us, but really the technology has been quite enslaving and it's time to reclaim some of that personal space," he said.  


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