Hold on a sec….I gotta check my phone

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By Kenneth Justice

~ Uh oh…another article about cell phones, my eyes are already rolling and I’m the one typing the article!

Truth be told….I don’t hate technology. If it wasn’t for technology I couldn’t be The Culture Monk and reach the audience that I do via the power of the Internet!

But let’s be honest….cell phones have begun to change the world around us quicker than perhaps any other piece of technology since indoor plumbing was invented.

This evening on my walk to the coffee house to write this article I noticed three young adults sitting together out on their porch….

all sitting in silence…

all with their faces down looking at their cell phones….

all not communicating with each other.

Are we happy with what cell phones are doing to society?

Hey….who am I to throw stones? I have been at the forefront of cell phone technology from the very beginning. I had a cell phone before all my friends as I had talked my employer into believing that it was essential that I was reachable…

That was back in the early to mid 1990’s when cell phone companies charged you by the minute and only the business class people tended to have them….

But now, all these years later I really wonder if cell phones are doing more harm to society than help….

It is undeniable that cell phones come in handy when;

–) Your car breaks down on the side of the road

–) You are in a school bus and a fight breaks out that you can upload to YouTube

–)  You are at a concert and Britney Spears has a wardrobe malfunction

–)  Your wife Demi Moore isn’t looking and you snap pictures of her while she is changing

Yes, there are times that cell phones come in handy….but at what cost?

Texting, social network surfing, and picture sharing all seem to be breaking down old fashioned communication between human beings…..

The art of talking to each other in a face-to-face conversation over a cup of coffee seems to be slowly dying away.

If you don’t believe me; the next time you are at a restaurant take a look at all the people who are sitting with each other yet staring at their phones…..

A friend of mine who I hadn’t seen in a while called me recently and wanted to get coffee…..while we sat there my friend must have looked at their phone at least two dozen times!

The whole time I kept thinking to myself; ‘why did you want to get together with me if all you were going to do was text other people?’

My phone has to be on during my work hours; my clients have to be able to reach me…..

But for the past two months….I have been experimenting with a totally bizarre concept; I’ve been turning my phone off.

It first began two months ago when on a Friday night I turned my phone off when I got into bed.

It was really surreal not being able to hear my phone <beep> throughout the night whenever a friend or colleague sent me a text or email…..it was strange lying in bed knowing that nobody could get a hold of me.

After a month of turning my phone off at bedtime on the weekends….I decided to take my experiment a little bit further….I started turning my phone off for a few hours on Saturday and Sunday during the middle of the day!

Instead of suffering from anxiety….I actually felt calm. It was nice being with my family and not being interrupted with texts, emails, and all the other electronic beeps that come from my little buddy.

Isn’t that what our cell phones have become; a buddy, a friend, a confidant?

Our cell phones have taken a strange place in our society and I’m not sure what it all means.

I don’t hate cell phones….

There isn’t much in life that I actually hate….

But I do know that the more we move forward into the future….the more we lose out on some of the positive things from our past….

And I for one will always enjoy a good conversation with a friend over a cup of coffee…..

Which reminds me; I think I’ll have another cup.

Kenneth

 

 

 



Categories: Culture & Society

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

39 replies

  1. I’ve not turned my phone off, but I have been putting it away in effort to not look like all the other phone zombies all around me.
    It’s been cool. Like, I haven’t run into as many poles and shit.

  2. I trackbacked you, as I share your sentiments. Letting go of my phones was a necessity that at the time horrified me, but has become a blessing. Have you seen the video included there “Disconnect to Connect”?

  3. Good article. I feel exactly the same way, but one of my biggest peeves is parents who can’t put the damned phone down and take care of/talk to their kids. Makes me absolutely insane!

  4. Right you are, Kenneth!

    Sent from IPhone4s

  5. Totally agree with you! Cell phones are a necessity, but are they really? I mean really? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to dinner with my honey and we look around and everyone is on their phones not talking. It’s amazing to watch really. I can’t turn the phone off (required by work) but I do turn it on silent when I get home from work and there are absolutely no phones allowed at dinner! Seriously. It’s a great rule. I’m glad I’m not alone on this one!

  6. I find it hard to believe anyone leaves the feature on that signals every message AND during the night, no less! First thing I did was turn that off. That phone is MY slave, not the other way around. I check it when I want. The only sound it makes is for an actual telephone call which I may or may not answer depending on what I am doing. What is wrong with people, that they can’t think through how this little machine is running/ruining their lives?!

    • “That phone is MY slave, not the other way around.”

      I was just thinking the same thing. When the phone becomes more of a burden than the service it provides people should be ditching it.

  7. It’s true. I have become addicted to Pinterest and finding all the photos I can of Benedict Cumberbatch and Mark Gatiss and the fact that I can do that while NOT in front of my desktop is phenomonal!

  8. i couldn’t agree more! i don’t hate phones either but dang people… get a life outside the phone please! i don’t get called or texted much so i suppose i just come off sounding grumpy or something but it’s also just rude in my eyes to be hanging out w/ someone or a group and to be on your phone the whole time. great post! 🙂

  9. I absolutely love this post. I’m part of the generation (unfortunately) that has made cell phones a technological umbilical cord. What is really sad is that I pull out my phone and have it on before I even recognize that I need to, OR I forget what I was even going to do. It’s a ridiculous habit.

    That being said, I don’t need it. I’m going to be following your lead in turning my phone off … that is … right after this phone interview I have today.

    Thanks for this!

  10. You’re only expressing what a lot of people are thinking including myself. I own one, but it is to be used only in an emergency. If you need to reach me it has to be on my land line which has a recorder so you can leave a message. Emergencies aside, I can’t image what is so important that people can’t put them away or turn them off for a couple of hours. When they have to ask you to do it before church services begin, we have definitely entered a new age. I guess it’s that instant gratification that people seek that gets in the way of common sense and decorum. I believe everything in moderation and that includes cell phones.Thanks for the visit and the like of my post “Same Flower – Different Angles”.

  11. I think you’re living on the edge! I met some friends the other day for dinner and I left my phone in my car…I actually had anxiety! Then it seemed everything that I wanted to tell them about I had an accompanying picture to go with the story on my phone. I had to force myself to sit there and not go it. That was my lightbulb moment.

  12. I don’t own one, and don’t want to. My wife has to own one due to her job – parish priest. She has to own a car too. A hundred years ago neither was a necessity. We lived for three years without either one and it was mainly very pleasant. We went a whole decade with no tv, no electricity in fact. In the end I think it did both good and bad to our kids. They grew up more creative and intelligent than they would have; but they grew up unable to handle the lure of the technology when they inevitably encountered it. I have trouble handling it myself and here I am on the internet – which I love in spite of a little alarm in the back of my head.
    I once assigned a math class to do their homework for at least two hours each week completely isolated from all electronic connection with the outside world. A few of them did it, but it was surprisingly hard to find a place to go. For most of them, though, it seemed to be like asking them to give up their drugs. They could not do it. That is what frightens me more than anything else about the phenomenon.

    • Carroll, I think in order to stay relevant with regard to the culture technology is an essential element of life…..I would luv to eliminate more things from my life but if I were to do so I would lose the ability to relate to others and have meaningful conversations

    • I know you are correct. All my instincts, except for marrying Kathryn, incline me toward being a hermit. All my culinary instincts lean toward junk food, too, so it is just as well often to not live by instinct.

  13. I agree with everything! I do have to say i love my phone for keeping me more in touch with people i wouldn’t normally be able to. 🙂 but jeez! Put it down now and then, kids!

  14. The thing that bugs me the most is having to listen to people’s loud phone conversations while I’m out at the grocery store, even the library… it feels so rude to me, that they’re so oblivious to people around them, no manners at all. People will continue talking while being waited on, just gesturing for what they want, ugh 😦

  15. It is very liberating to use that Power button, isn’t it? I frequently turn off my mobile phone.

  16. I have a cell phone, but it’s a prepaid flip-phone that I bought at Walmart. Before I rejoined the workforce, I didn’t even know where it was half the time. It bothers me that I can no longer have a conversation with certain friends without them looking at their cell phones the entire time. In general, I find it difficult to speak when I can’t maintain eye contact. Drives me batty. I’m glad I don’t have a smart phone. I look around at all the people buried up to their eyeballs in text messages at the beach, the playground, and the cafe and think, “Sucks to be you. It’s a gorgeous day, and you’re missing it.” So sad.

    • April, my sentiments exactly…..except I have to admit….30% of the time I am still that person looking at my cell phone…….at least I’ve got it down from what it was

    • Keep going. Just think of that screen as a little cubicle and your life as Office Space. That helps a lot. 😉

  17. “Uh oh…another article about cell phones, my eyes are already rolling and I’m the one typing the article!”

    YOU, dear Sir, are too funny! ❤

  18. technology has stolen some of my very good friends too! the ones spared by television were stolen by either computer games or internet!

  19. I agree, it also makes me think that too many people act like they are soo important that that they need to be reached ALL the time! I find it incredibly rude when people start checking phones in teh middle of a conversation. I always leave my phone in another part of the house – whatever it is can usually wait

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  1. A timely message….before it is too late. | love and heretics

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