Back by popular demand, here is a CLE series that I think pertains to about 90% of the human population. It’s not a controversial subject because, well, I think we all know how attached at the hand we are to our smartphones. The sickness of this subject is that we KNOW we have a problem, but we’re doing fuck-all to remedy it. But I think we can do better as a human species.
This is not a blog on dating because, as many crap-tastic dates that I’ve been on, I can honestly say that not one of them has ever been glued to their phone. No. That shit happens in settings like, oh, say, the car, or walking down the halls, or in business meetings. I’m not talking about actual conversations happening during these transgressions. No, I’m talking about when people’s eyes are figuratively glued to the screen of their smart phone either texting, reading texts, trolling through Facebook, Snap Chatting, Tweeting, ESPN reading (guilty) and the likes. Anything that essentially transports them from their physical realities into the zombie land of instantaneous information and social media.
There have been NUMEROUS studies done on this phenomena — We are so attached to our smart phones that approximately 70% of existing smartphone owners check their phone within an hour of getting up in the morning (I would venture to say of that, the majority do it FIRST thing rather within the hour). WebMD isn’t going as far as actually NAMING this an actual “addiction,” but, fuck WebMD…I know that the majority of all of you out there with smartphones would experience some sort of anxiety if you happened to break or god-forbid just plain lose your phones. I know I’m guilty of this.
I was feeling lazy AF yesterday so I decided to watch an old movie that I loved when I was a kid; “Adventures in Babysitting.” For those of you who never saw this movie, I’ll give you the quick and dirty – this chick was called to babysit for a family, her friend got into some trouble and needed her to pick her up at the bus station in “the city.” Babysitter loaded up the crew, drove into “the city” and had a tire blow out…the night then proceeded to be one royal fuck up after the next. Now, this movie was based in the early 80’s….when cell phones were those big ass bricks that were only used by the likes of Secret Service and the military. No one could afford those things and no one wanted to wear the battery-pack “purse” you had to carry it around in. So these kids were all up shit creek the entire movie because they had no way to phone a friend, so to speak. I’m not gonna lie, I was anxious AF the entire movie thinking “if they only had cell phones back then all their probs would go away….” My mind then started wondering if life could actually go back to some semblance of what it was before we could all literally ‘reach out and touch someone.’ (most of you kiddos out there won’t get that reference, just google ol AT&T slogans on your smartphones…or just click here. I did the work for you). I don’t think we can.
So, in remembrance of how things used to be back in the day, I’d like to point out a few scenarios where you just need to put the mother-loving phone down and be present. Here goes:
- Walking. For some people, walking in general is a feat unto itself. We’re not all blessed with the coordination of being able to put one foot in front of the other…Throw a phone in there and you’re royally fucked. I just read a study that says that tens of thousands of pedestrians are treated in ERs across the nation each year and approximately 10% of those injuries involve walking while texting…that might not seem like much, but that number went up 124% in 2014 from 2010, and has since gone up ten fold from 2006. What this means in real talk is, we are so FOMO (fear of missing out) that we are willing to literally forget about our safety and the safety of others while retrieving information that we can’t wait 15 minutes for. In other words, we’re selfish as fuck. It’s like a heroine addict…we have to have the info NOW or else we crumble into the depths of nothingness. I think we need to reevaluate the meaning of ‘time’ and what is actually important and what isn’t. Apparently walking and texting is becoming as dangerous as falling into a gorilla cage…just sayin’
- Conference calls and meetings. For the love of everything holy, when you get to a meeting, just put the phone away. If you’re in a meeting, you’re most likely there to (a) get some work done and (b) learn a little something. If you’re constantly having to pick up and put down and type on your damn phone, you’re throwing the whole group dynamic off. They actually have a name for this problem…it’s called Electronic Displays of Insensitivity (EDI). You can’t make this shit up, people. It’s a real thing. If you are victim to someone else’s EDI, you should most definitely call him/her out. With a shoe. To the face. They’re most likely too narcissistic to realize they have EDI and that they are creating barriers to effective communication. If you are reading this and recognize that you might display symptoms of EDI, I urge you to throw your goddamned phone out the window. Or, in a show of less extreme faith, don’t bring it into the meeting room. Your colleagues will appreciate it, and you’ll most definitely develop better employee engagement and comradery…which will in turn give you a positive relationship with your employees and company ultimately leading into higher productivity. I promise; whatever is on your phone can wait…don’t be a cyber form of Debbie Does Digital. In other words, stop eye-fucking your phone whilst meeting with other people.
- Driving. Do I really need to go into this? Have you not been inundated enough with television commercials and cell phone campaigns to keep you from texting and driving? No? Ok, one more urge then: YOU ARE FUCKING KILLING PEOPLE. Especially you youngin’s. Don’t believe me? Teen driver cell phone statistics show that 11 teens die every DAY as a result of texting and driving. And you know what? You ALL KNOW THIS maaaan! AAA polled you guys and 94% of you are actually AWARE of the dangers of texting and driving, but 35% of you admittedly don’t give a fuck. I’m not exactly sure how many statistics one can provide before you actually get this shit through your thick skull, but apparently someone has to die for it. Eleven people per day actually. Teens aren’t the only transgressors here…adults pull this shit too. Just stop.
- Relationships….in general. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been out to eat or at a bar and have observed couples staring blankly into the depths of….their smartphone screen. Their sig other is sitting right there across from them, and all they’re concerned with is what zombie-like shit is going on in the digital world. This scenario is SO on over-kill that institutions are actually doing STUDIES on this shit. And they’re labeling it the “phubbing” syndrome. (Phone + snubbing) – However, we’re not throwing technology under the bus for this syndrome…this shit is actually an interpersonal job. If your relationship is seemingly dead and all you do is mess around on your phone, then the relationship has the prob, not the phone. Correlation, in this case, is not causation. HOWEVER; if you are interested in making your relationship work…put the mother loving phone down and strike up an actual conversation.
I know there are many other scenarios where our phones fuck up our interpersonal skills but these four come to the forefront of my mind. When is comes to your cell phones just try really really really really really hard to not be a selfish asshole…remember, you have to share this world with living, breathing people…and sometimes those people may actually see potential in you as a fellow human being (God knows why but hey, to each his/her own)…don’t give them cause to second guess that.