Let me first start off saying, I’m no Luddite. Great, I’m already getting defensive. You can always tell how controversial a post is by seeing how defensive the blogger is coming out of the gate. But it’s true. I love technology. I love how it can help connect people thousand of miles away. I love how it has made my life easier, more productive, how it’s earth-friendly (most of the time).
But I don’t like the technology invasion. I don’t like that people tote around their iPhones with a total disregard to the environment around them. I don’t like the mass marketing from the companies who make you feel inferior without their product. I don’t like how invasive this species of technology has gotten.
We are a society lacking in technology etiquette and norms. Our mothers didn’t teach us what is appropriate and what is not since data plans were not around when we where kids. The first time I was in a chat room was in high school. And I’m 31. I do recall that I became addicted to it. I wanted to be typing away for hours. But my parents did put their foot down and limited my consumption. Who’s here to limit ours as adults?
What I see out there in the world right now is reckless usage. People talking loudly in the grocery store, shouting even, and instantly my response is flight or fight. Is this person crazy? I happen to live in a city that houses a state mental health facility as well as the state penitentiary. Or maybe this person is sane and has Bluetooth?
Even some States have stepped in and passed laws that limit phone usage while driving. In instances between life and death, accident or no accident, we are choosing to haphazardly drive while texting and talking. We choose virtual friends rather than family and friends in front of our face. We’ve become a society of rapid-fire messages seeking rapid-fire stimulus 24/7. Wake up America, we have a problem!
iPhone or iContact
I walk past the highschool and see a group of three teen boys in a huddle. They each are on their data phones, quietly hacking away at the screen with no verbal communication at all.
I invite a friend or family member over and in the first thirty minutes of conversation they are pulling out their gadget to check email, play a game or check their facebook status.
We’ve become a society where the iPhone has replaced iContact. Where teens find it easier to interact with each other through their mobile device rather than chat with that person who is an arms length away. Where adults use their cell phones as shields, sometimes pretending to actually be talking to someone just so they don’t have to interact with the world around them.
Sending the Correct Message
There are some professions where I think timely calls/emails are important. Stock brokers, doctors, who else? The President–you know people that have millions on the line, or people who handle life and death situations. And phones used for emergency situations. There are parents who want to provide a line so they can be updated if their child has an accident, or to be used for car accidents or other safety situations. This is all very valid. It’s when this little device, so portable and effortless becomes more important than your friends, then we have a problem.
When technology is used in public where not everyone has the same technology, it is divisive. Barriers are being drawn, and you become much less approachable. Sure you may have gotten your iPhone to keep in touch with potential clients, but when you are constantly checking your email while in social settings, you are putting up barriers to face to face potential clients. This is true especially when someone is talking. When you pick up your iPhone and start playing around with it, I visually relate you to someone who has both index fingers in your ears. It’s obvious to me that you have no interest in what discussion we are in or at least, think your need to do whatever you are doing (surfing the net, emailing, text messaging, etc) is more important than I am.
So I’m going out on a limb. I’m gonna call it like I see it. This kind of usage is just plain rude! I wouldn’t ever think of bringing a book to read at someone’s house when I’ve been invited over to a dinner party. My lame excuse at the dinner table sounding something like “sorry I just have to finish this last chapter, then I’ll start eating. Don’t worry about me though, go on and start eating without me.”
Multitasking or Message Mixing
It’s just not humanly possible to be in the moment when you are doing too many things at once. The iPhone doesn’t make you a super human, it makes you a
super moron. Multitasking has shown to give a false sense of competence. Studies have shown while multitaskers are extremely confident in their abilities, they fall short in memory tests and cognitive tasks that involved distraction than did people who focused on single tasks. I for one don’t want to have an illusion of competence while actually falling short.
A Tool but Not a Rule
So for me it comes down to this, data phones are amazing yet destructive. They can put information at our fingertips, helping us solve problems and answer questions with a few taps of the finger. But it’s not an idol. An iPhone is an object, a tool. We shouldn’t be paying lots of money a month for something that we become addicted to. Something that makes us less considerate of others, and something that makes our lives busier. Right now I’m not willing to spend more time with a device then my best friend. I will not be a slave to a piece of machinery. We have the obligation and need to set limits and use technology as a tool but not a rule.