Distracted by Cell Phone Addiction: Technology Can Impair Communication
Do you own your cell phone? Or does your cell phone own you?
Think fast. Where is your cell phone? Is it within reach? Have you looked at it in the last 30 seconds? Has it become more like an extension of you than a device? Do you feel naked without it?
I realized my own dependence on my gadgets the other day when I accidentally dropped my smart phone while crossing a busy street. I turned around, saw it laying there and my husband quickly dashed back out into the street to retrieve it. Watching him in the middle of the intersection as the light changed I realized how important that phone had become. Was it really worth my husband’s life? No. It was a phone. It was replaceable. But our first instinct was to risk life and limb to save it.
My husband, thankfully, survived the incident. My phone, sadly, did not. It was clipped by a car and ruined forever. I mourned its loss for days. Even after replacing it with a blackberry, I remember it fondly. I loved that phone. It wasn’t something that I simply owned. It had slowly become something that owned me.
Most of us love the advantages the latest and greatest technology can bring us. Our gadgets have allowed us to have access to an abundant amount of information and resources that would have been unheard of in past decades. It’s easier to research and make reservations for a business trip or a family vacation. It’s also more convenient to stay connected and communicate long distance with colleagues and associates, as well as friends and family who live far away. It’s no wonder that these devices have become such an important part of our lives.
Technology, however, is a tool. When we own our gadgets, and keep them within appropriate boundaries they can help us live with ease and convenience. Unfortunately, those boundaries slip out of place and our gadgets begin to overwhelm us take over the control our lives. When that happens, our gadgets end up owning us.
When our gadgets begin to own us, they take over our time and our focus. Having access and being accessible to everyone we know and everyone we work with 24 hours a day means we are literally on call or at the beck and call of others. No longer do we leave our work at the office. It’s too easy to bring it with us and to allow it to interrupt our family time, our meals, and even our sleep. This type of technology can make life easier when we have a deadline to meet, are lost and in need of directions, or having car trouble along the interstate. But if used without boundaries, our gadgets can actually create a lot of stress in our lives and families.
What about you?
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Gadgets are great. Technology is useful. Having the latest and greatest device is fun. These tools however are meant to be used by us, not to use us. Keep your gadgets in perspective. Own them. Don’t let the gadgets own you. If you feel that your gadgets have taken over your life try these simple steps to take back the control:
- Turn the phone off. Set aside a few hours for family time each day and turn the phone off so that you won’t be distracted by phone calls, texts, or e-mails. The messages will still be there when you turn it back on.
- Set the example for your family. Constantly checking your phone during your conversations with your spouse or kids makes them feel unimportant. Put others first. The phone can wait.
- Connect with other people in person. It’s too easy to send a text or write something on someone’s Facebook wall. Go see that person instead. Tell them “hello” or “I’ve been thinking about you” in person.
- Unplug for a day. Consider taking one full day a month to be gadget free. It may feel awkward at first, but after a while, you may realize a completely freeing feeling. Use the day to go hiking or to hang out with your kids. Listen to the sounds of nature. Find yourself again.
Have you become a slave to your gadgets? Leave a comment and share how your life has been affected. Have you overcome an addiction to technology? Do you have boundaries in place that may be helpful? Please share those in the comments below.
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