UK

Mobile phones: We got rid of ours like Simon Cowell

A woman checks her phone Image copyright Getty Images

After Simon Cowell revealed he hasn't used his mobile phone for 10 months, the BBC speaks to others who have also ditched their devices.

Damian Wilson discovered he no longer needed a mobile when he accidentally dropped his into a river.

The musician was climbing aboard his house boat on the River Thames when he heard a loud splash, which was quickly followed by a sinking feeling - for both him and his unfortunate phone.

"I was dependent on it," he reminisces.

Image copyright Tom Barnes
Image caption Damian Wilson has been phoneless for more than a year

But 14 months later he is still to replace it.

"I'm not controlled by a mobile phone now," the 48-year-old father explains.

"A lot of the time you feel these devices are controlling your life and the dependency on it is draining."

He borrows friends' phones if he needs to make calls and "always finds a way" to stay in touch with friends and family.

Being phoneless means he has also eliminated social media from his life.

"At first social media was very exciting, but I actually think it's an unnecessary commitment," Mr Wilson adds.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Losing his phone means Damian Wilson has also lost his social media

"I feel free, I'm living life. These devices are a huge distraction.

"Since I dropped my phone in the Thames, I've never had a situation where I've wished I had a mobile."

And he is not the only one. Annie Makepeace says she felt liberated when she stopped using her phone.

The 70-year-old retired teacher from Cheshire insists it's "taken a lot of stress out of my life".

Ms Makepeace writes letters with a fountain pen, uses a regular camera to take pictures and has a computer to check her emails on.

Image copyright Annie Makepeace
Image caption Annie Makepeace says her no-device life makes her feel liberated

She stopped using her phone after being plagued with calls about a kids club she was involved with.

One parent in particular kept ringing her even though hers was not the right number to call.

"People just assumed I was available all the time," she says.

"I loathed the anti-social expectation that I'm at anyone's beck-and-call, 24 hours a day, at the end of a phone - it's like being on a retractable dog lead.

"I feel an awful lot happier, I'm not on edge."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Annie Makepeace no longer takes pictures with a mobile

Another woman, who wanted to be known only by her first name Carolyn, says she made the big switch-off some 20 years ago.

Phones have become like a "fifth limb", says Carolyn, who says sees "so many people" ignoring each other on trains or in cafes because they are looking at their mobiles.

The 70-year-old from Pevensey Bay in East Sussex adds: " Life is far simpler without one."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption People tend to ignore each other because they are using their phones, says Carolyn from Pevensey Bay

But one man who went 18 months without a smartphone explains why he eventually resorted to his old ways.

Sarfraz, a teacher from Leicester, had been using an old Nokia after losing his smartphone on a holiday.

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Media captionAdele's health hacks: Digital detox

He says he "really enjoyed" the following 18 months as he read more books and his wife was also happier.

The 32-year-old says: "My wife shouts at me for being on my phone, it's like a running joke."

But things changed when he got a new smartphone in order to take part in a charity bike ride being organised by his friends through WhatsApp.

"As soon as I got one I was constantly on it, it was like the previous 18 months had never happened," he says.