When I was a teenager, my phone usage was limited to a few minutes a day. I had to use the kitchen phone which was the family line and the business line for my parent’s company. Call waiting was nonexistent and so I was not allowed to be on for long. Dinner time was dinner time and the phone was ignored if it rang. When you had a meeting with a friend, you got there because there was no way to change plans once you left the house.
Pardon my old fashioned ways, but I am having a very hard time with the permission that cell phones offer.
Cell phones/Smart phones/PDAs all give a person ‘permission’ to ignore the people/event right in front of them. We are so connected to everything at all times that we think it’s ok to sacrifice time with a friend so that the world can know about you being with your friend.
How many times have you sat down to dinner with a friend/spouse/family member and had them pick up their phone and shoot off some emails, text or share a stupid cat photo with you? How many times have you asked someone a question and had them silently finish their text and then look up to say, “what was that?” 2 minutes later. Or what about when at a concert, your date is spending half their time taking pictures and posting them, missing half the show.
We are all so hell-bent on instantly gratifying our need to connect that we are missing out on the people right in front of us.
#1 Real people in a real room with real words get priority. If you put the energy into spending face-to-face time with someone, give them the courtesy of your undivided attention. If you really must interact with people that aren’t there, excuse yourself. I don’t want to hear half of a conversation while I wait for you. And turn that damn TV off when I come over (next chapter).
#2 Child, I am your mother and you do not tell me to wait while you finish that text. I’m not sure when parents started saying, “well, it’s just the way it is”. Grow some balls and remember that you are the parent and if you didn’t buy the damn thing for them in the first place, this wouldn’t be a problem, now would it? Children, that phone in your hand? It cost a lot of money that you don’t have. You have it so you can get in touch with your parents and vice versa. I’m right here….put it down.
#3 Manners matter New tech is no excuse for bad manners. Hang up the phone, stop texting, FBing, tweeting. Pay attention to the people in your house, next door and real friends. Check up on them, for real. Facebook posts don’t count as keeping in touch. A text, “wassup” does not tell me that you are really concerned about my well being.