Don't Let your Smartphone be your Undoing
The trend has already begun, and pretty soon everything we own is going to have ‘smart’ functionality. From the computers in our cars to the air conditioner and even the dishwasher, these advances in technology are actually making it more difficult to survive a major disaster. We're getting soft, as technology makes it so convenient for us to order food, arrange transport, and live our everyday lives. But shouldn't we make use of these advances? Surely having better connectivity and intelligence in a crisis is a good thing right? At its most basic level yes, but there's also a point where you can become too reliant on a system. I believe our smartphones are quickly becoming a crutch we're too dependent on, which ultimately hurts our ability to survive. Here's why.
You're reliant on the grid Yes, a smartphone makes it easy to do just about anything, connecting you to a wealth of information right at your fingertips. But there's a downside. Even though you're wireless, smartphones have got to connect to a network in order to function, and after a day or two without power you're not going to have much charge left anyway. The big question then becomes, will the network and power still be online in the aftermath of a crisis? It's definitely not what I'd put my faith in, that's for sure.
It trains you to be lazy If your only training for a crisis is a series of videos you've watched on youtube, you're going to struggle in a real disaster. Being able to answer any question at the click of a button is fine while it lasts, but it takes experience in the real world to hone your instincts. I would never risk the welfare of my family because my only navigational skill was using Google maps in my phone, or that my ability to hunt hinged on the hunting app that tells me where to find game, how to position my scent trail and the best time of day to hunt. Smart technology gives you an ample supply of ‘short cuts,’ but what they're really doing is training you to be lazy, and will hurt your ability to survive without them. Tell me, how many of your friends phone numbers can you recite by heart? See what I mean.
They're easily destroyed In a major event like an EMP attack, all of your electronics are going to be useless. That includes your car, your laptop, phone, and anything else with electronic circuitry. What's even scarier, those with smart technology that rely on satellites or servers to function, will be useless if these systems go down - even if you're not in the attack zone. Never rely on a piece of technology as vulnerable as your smart phone to be a crucial part of your kit. You just have to drop yours in a glass of water to see what I mean.
They're not able to think The output from your smartphone is only as good as the data that loaded into it. Ask Siri a complex question, or run into a changed landscape and the tech will break. A few weeks back I was travelling down a newly opened highway, and my cars GPS was freaking out as it thought I was hurtling through fields at 60 miles an hour. Now imagine the aftermath of a crisis. Your smartphone won't be able to determine subtle situations that may be deadly, everything from leading you to a bridge that has since been washed out, or taking you through a part of town that is best avoided. Do not rely on your smartphone once the SHTF, you need to rely on your own brain.
It's tracking your every move Now I don't know about you, but this one is the most alarming to me. Every piece of smart technology has the ability to be tracked. Even when your phone is off, the microphone can be remotely turned on to act as a bug, or the phones GPS can be used to determine exactly where you are. Not cool, right? But it's not just the hardware. Microsoft just announced the information they collect from Windows 10 users, which tracks everything from what you're typing to the contents of your private emails, so they can better advertise to you and even sell the information on to third parties. If you ever get into trouble and the government decides they need to find you in a hurry, you can bet it's your smartphone that leads them right to you. Of course, technology isn't all bad and many pieces of equipment can help you to better prepare for a disaster. If you're just getting started you can use apps to teach you proper survival techniques, learn the right plants to eat in your local area, and can even turn your phone into a scanner so you can stay updated during a crisis. I even saw one that pinpoints your last GPS location where you had a carrier signal, guiding you back to the closest possible spot to call for help. These are all fantastic ways technology can help you, just don't rely on it. The real trick to becoming a survivalist is to survive no matter what, and having your plan reliant on a particular tool can be a weakness that leads to disaster.