First of all, let me say that modern technology is terrific. I love it… and we have a new phenomenon – cell phone addicts! We even have a new phobia – nomophobia: the fear of being out of cell phone contact. Welcome to the digital age!
Can you remember a time where people just used to have conversations? If someone is talking to you, you should be listening to them. Not to worry. Your cell phone will still be there at the end of the conversation, then you can check it or whatever yo do with it. There is a reason that when you get text messages, they stay there on your phone. They won’t go away until you delete them. No need to rush to read your texts. There is a reason it’s called an in-box. Text messages stay there so you can go back and look at them later. Here is the point! If you are with people… be with the people! We all need to interact and talk more face-to-face and enjoy the moment.
A recent study on cellphone activity conducted at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and published in the Journal of Behavioral Addictions, found that college students spend nearly nine hours per day on their cell phones.
The report, “The Invisible Addiction: Cellphone Activities and Addiction Among Male and Female College Students,” revealed that of the 164 students surveyed, 60% admitted that their excessive phone use might be an addiction. Smartphones are so ingrained in daily life that it’s not surprising that addiction to such devices is on the rise.
One student recently said, “If I don’t feel my phone vibrate within a 15-minute time range, I check it,” he says. “Now that I think about it, I might be addicted to my phone.” Might be? Half of being smart is knowing what your dumb at. It’s been said that the average person spends 4 years of their life looking down at a tiny screen. Do you? Do you tune out from people trying to have a conversation with you by constantly checking your smartphone screen?
We can’t escape social media “and” we can control how it gets in our way of good communication with a real, live human. Are you a cellphone addict? It’s time to take a break from your online life to experience real connections. When you’re in public and you start to feel alone, put your hands behind your head and step away from the phone. We are beginning to be a generation of idiots… smart phones and dumb people. We need to relearn being in the moment. Remember when we just ate the food instead of Instagramming it first?
Remember when you had one phone at home and it was plugged into the wall? You couldn’t take it with you. When you returned, you pushed a button and listened to your voice-mail.
Here is my one-day challenge to you. Let’s call it a “24 Hour Cell Phone Fast!” A sort of digital detox. Just for one day, when you are with your partner or friends, turn your cell phone off or better yet… leave it at home. Ignore your smart phone for only 1 day. Don’t use apps, or play games, or Twitter, or Facebook, or engage in idle texting or check the weather. Look up, and look around. Perspective is a beautiful thing, and it’s hard to get any when your face is glued to a screen. When you return, you can check your texts and your voice-mail. Perhaps it will help you feel really present, and more in-the-moment. I think we could all benefit from an occasional digital diet.
But today, there you are, with your sweetheart looking at your smartphone or tablet, swiping, scrolling, texting, reading, while she sits across the table. Not a good scenario. Obviously we all need to stay connected with e-mail, work and friends, “and” still be present with our close friends and partners. Cell phones can be corrosive to the relationship. Our smart phones are hurting our relationships – and that’s hurting us.
Recently, Applebee’s – the world’s largest casual-dining chain – filed a trademark for something called “No Tech Tuesday,” which is rumored to be in anticipation of a program of the same name.
Here are a few horrifying facts that are intended to cause you to put down your phone.
• Using a cell or portable electronic device while driving increases the risk of crashing by 300%!
• The average time your eyes are off the road when texting is 5 seconds! At 55 mph that is enough time to drive the length of a football field.
• in 2011, 3,360 people died in a crash related to distracted drivers.
• Parents on smart phones often ignore their kids.
• A study in the Journal of Hospital Infection showed a greater risk of contamination in medical wards where mobile devises were being used.
• A study at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden reported that heavy use of cell phone use increased depression as well as sleep disorders (specifically in men).
• A microbiologist at the University of Arizona concluded that cell phones have more germs than toilet seats.
• THe iPhone keeps track of a lot of personal information. Your phone is constantly tracking your coordinates and saving them to a secret fie. Which means that if someone gets access to your phone or computer, they can tell exactly where you’ve been.
Somewhere I read that 33% of people would rather give up sex than their cellphone. What is this world coming to? You don’t own your phone. Your phone owns you and that is a sad state of affairs.
Even the Pope got on the bandwagon. Speaking to a 50,000 strong crowd of German altar servers recently, Pope Francis warned of time wasted with eyes glued to screens.
iPhones, Androids and smart phones are everywhere and there are some places they shouldn’t be. I was saddened to recently see a good looking couple having a candlelit dinner together and both of them had their cell phone and were checking things out between bites. NO! It should and could have been a very romantic time together. It would have been much wiser to silence the ringer, put the phone away and ignore it until the date was over. You should be having meaningful conversations not being digitally connected to each other. I thought you were supposed to give your partner – not your smart phone – your full attention when on a date and that conversation was a two-way street. I was tempted to walk over and say, “Put your cell phones down, look each other in the eyes and talk to each other, for God’s sake!” It’s a matter of respect! Here’s a tip: Keep your cell phone off the table during meals so that you’re not interrupted or tempted to fiddle with it when you’re with the one you love.
It’s time we put down our phone and reconnect with each other. Connections are made by people, and not technology.
Perhaps this video poem will inspire you to take on my “one-day challenge” and put down your smartphone!
BONUS Articles: 5 Ways to Deal With Dinner Party Guests Who Won’t Put Down Their Phones
Put the Cell Phone Down
How to Persuade Someone to Stop Using Their Cellphone During Lunch With You
Cell Phones, Bras, and Breast Cancer Risk
Copyright © 2014 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.
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