Life Without a Cell Phone, WHAT!!!!
As we march into 2013, there is an interesting new development. Many are understanding what over-reliance on handheld digital devices and digital media is doing to us. It is not socially healthy. Digital devices have changed our ability to have fulfilling relationships, personally and socially. Our communication skills, the ones we use human to human, have deteriorated.
Remember long ago when "they," said TV would deteriorate our ability to communicate. Boy things have changed. TV is now where some families get together and relate. This heavy reliance on handheld devices and less on face to face relationships are depleting all our personal and social energy.
"Social networking websites" like, you know, and the innovation of the "Smartphone" has changed our view of connecting with another. They promised us a technological route to connect with others better and grow our relationships. When in fact we are only building a relationship with the internet and/or the device, not another human. Everyone else viewing you social "postings" are just that "observer to your new found relationship". Initially, these Social networking websites offered an ability to reconnect with friend and family who lived miles from us. We could not visit face to face because our economy went bottom up. Because who could afford to travel due to the prices?
I digress, Social networking and these devices have slowly "dehumanize" our relationships with each other. Attention!!!! Now some of us are starting to do something about it. The new movement is called "digital dieting". This where a person will totally go off of all digital devices and internet for 30 or more days. In the helping profession, they would call this "rehab". Something needs to be done. Awareness needs to be raised to make us human again (as I am typing this on my computer, LOL).
Has society's reliance on digital devices become a "digital addiction"? I think many would agree. Time to reflect back. Remember back to times when there was no computer, Smartphone, or digital tablet. Travel back with me to that time.
I know that I will be telling my age with this statement but I remember when the only phone available to me was one connected to my parent’s kitchen wall. At that time I would have to grab the phone connected to the wall, untangle the long phone cord and turn the rotary dial to make a phone call, no push buttons on that phone, no sir. When I wanted to talk to a friend my whole family would hear the entire conversation, so I really had to watch want I said. While I would talk I would wrap my finger around the curly phone cord. Oh, those were the days….
Phones of the Past
When I was away from the house and needed to talk to someone I had to go to the gas station or a drug store to find a pay phone. Used to, you would see a phone booth on the corner or in the local stores but they are no longer a fixture anymore.
In my late 20’s was when the first time that “mobile phones” came to be. My first mobile phone was the size of a brick (first phone in the picture to the right) and just about as heavy. How funny is that? No pocket was big enough so I had to carry it in my hand and it was heavy or briefcase. The great aspect of my first phone was that my arm muscles got stronger and continued to stay in shape from just lugging it around.
During those times, calling areas were very limited and the price was extremely high compared to nowadays.
Phone Improvements have Changed Our Lives
As the years went on and technology developed cell phones themselves became smaller and smaller. Calling areas grew but not a lot of people had them due to their expense. Back then cell phones were just a status symbol and generally to stay in contact with work, not as much for personal communication. There were no games, apps or any luxuries on those phones. All you could do with them was make phone calls and clarity, and the connection was good. Imagine that!
Boy, how the development of mobile phones from cell phone to smartphones have changed our lives. Today, everyone has a mobile or smartphone it seems. The number of people who have landlines in their homes has decreased significantly. Statistics tell us that over two-thirds of the population are connected through mobile phones. Total minutes of mobile phone use for Americans in 2009 were over 2.3 trillion. Mobile and smartphones are now in the hands of children as young as 13 years old and sometimes younger. The location of mobile and smartphones can be traced now and parents can monitor where their children are.
The location of mobile and smartphones can be traced now and parents can monitor, so now mobile and smartphones have become security locator devices as well as a babysitter and distractor. Times have changed quickly.
At what age is the right age for child to have a cell phone?
Are Mobile and Smartphones Phone Necessity?
The personal information age has come. No longer are cell phones a luxury but now a necessity. Mobile and smartphones have become more than communication and calling devices since the introduction of the iPhone in June of 2007. Mobile and smartphones are now lightweight with cameras, music players, news collectors, texting machines, mini-personal computers, and gaming centers. Mobile and smartphones contain our pictures, record segments of our experiences and history as well as store all our personal information. Mobile and smartphones are a big part of our daily lives and have reconfigured society.
Are Smartphones good or bad? Let me explain with a little story. My wife and I were leaving a popular restaurant on prom night at the local high school. A lot of the kids came to the restaurant for their prom night dinner. As we stepped into the parking lot after dinner and there was a group of 10-12 teenagers all dressed up. The guys were looking great in their tuxedos and girls were beautiful in their prom dresses. You could tell that the girls had spent a better part of the day at salons having their hair and nails done for the occasion. The strange thing about this was that there were 10-12 human beings standing in a circle all with their head down, not speaking to or looking at one another. Instead, each one was looking at their own smartphones and their fingers were busy text messaging on their phones. Not one of these teens was speaking to the ones standing right next to them. No human interaction whatsoever with each other. The only interaction each were having was with their smartphone. It was extremely evident that each kid was texting someone else in the same group.
Let me try to answer the above question with a little story. My wife and I were leaving a popular restaurant on prom night at the local high school. A lot of the kids came to the restaurant for their prom night dinner. As we stepped into the parking lot after dinner and there was a group of 10-12 teenagers all dressed up. The guys were looking great in their tuxedos and girls were beautiful in their prom dresses. You could tell that the girls had spent a better part of the day at salons having their hair and nails done for the occasion. The strange thing about this was that there were 10-12 human beings standing in a circle all with their head down, not speaking to or looking at one another. Instead, each one was looking at their own smartphones and their fingers were busy text messaging on their phones. Not one of these teens was speaking to the ones standing right next to them. No human interaction whatsoever with each other. The only interaction each were having was with their smartphone. It was extremely evident that each kid was texting someone else in the same group.
The situation made my wife and I chuckle but also think. Are we creating a generation with no personal skills and void of human to human contact? All this thinking lead me to pose the question, are we a society which is more interested in being “technically connected” rather than "personally connected"? Are we a society who is hiding our emotions behind a text or emojis?
Recent Study at MIT
I recently learned of a research study on the influence of mobile devices and smartphones in our society conducted at MIT. The American public is becoming more and more disconnected to each other due to our reliance on cell phones. Just like the aforementioned story. 90% of all Americans own a cell phone. The average American sends and receives over 32,000 text messages a month. Last year alone a 1,000 people had to go to a hospital emergency because of an injury related to using their cell phones. In another study where people were asked to give up their cell phones for a month. Most participants said it was the hardest thing they had ever done. One participant said, which I think is typical, Sometimes I felt out of touch with my life, almost dead without my phone."
Mobile and smartphones are a great invention and wonderful technology, but sometimes we have to put them down and communicate verbally and emotionally with each other. Don't lose the connection with others.
Due to our fixation on cell phones, are we losing our person to person social skills?
© 2011 Bill Tollefson