WebExtra: A week later, Ballston Spa teen reunites with smartphone


BALLSTON SPA, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A local teen gave up his smart phone for a week and he said it wasn’t easy.

“If I wasn’t going to be getting paid $1,000, there’s not a chance I would have done this challenge,” said Tyler Novak, who was one of six participants chosen nationwide for the FrontierBundles.com flip phone challenge.

The challenge was social experiment conducted by the internet company. The goal was to track patterns and change in behavior when people step away from smartphones.

Novak found the flip phone to be a frustrating piece of technology. He said it took him three times as long to type a text message than normal and that logging onto the internet with the phone was not worth the wait.

“The browser interphase was awful, I had to tap the scroll function like 15,000 times to get it to work,” he said.

His mother Shari Novak said it was very hard to understand his phone calls, as the flip phone sound quality sounded distorted.

“One time I hung up on him because I could not understand what he was saying,” she said.

Novak spent most of his time during the week with his girlfriend, Bryana Engle, who said she learned to appreciate the simplicity of conversation without a smart phone.

“If I had to do what he did for a week and the roles were reversed, I think I would be okay,” she said. “I think sometimes we forget that what’s in front of us is more important than what’s in our hands.”

For Novak, the flip phone challenge proved to him how dependant he is on his cell phone, and how much better off he is with the current technology.

He said he uses his cell phone to be connected with the world. He gets his news on Twitter, communicates through images with Snapchat and watches Instagram stories to see what his friends are up to daily. Not having a smart phone with those capabilities urged him to get his information through social interactions, watching television and listening to radio.

Now that his challenge is over, Novak plans to treat himself to a nice dinner with the $1,000 he earned.

He vlogged about his experience all week. He said he plans to post the video on his YouTube challenge sometime this week.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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