Smart phones have become an extension of one’s hands of late and people are making use of technology to do various tasks quickly like paying bills, hailing taxis, checking in to flights or even checking bank balances. What are the side-effects of this intimate love affair with one’s smartphones and the thirst for remaining ever connected. Uday takes a closer look at this technological side effect in today’s world.
Consider the following common occurrences in our lives now:
Airlines have relaxed their policy to keep Mobile phones switched off so that as soon as the plane lands down, people are allowed to switch on their phones. The hope is that this will help them sit in their places until the plane docks. But I have seen funny situations where someone is attempting to text and at the same time trying to get their baggage from the overhead compartment. In the process bumping into other people that are trying to do the same, sending wrong messages inadvertently or more serious cases of hurting themselves.
As kids, I remember how parents used to get into conversations with the taxi drivers or rickshawallahs (rickshaw pullers) on a long journey. These guys were ready to talk to you on any topic under the sun and even provide a twist with their experiences. So the other day, when I sat in a cab from the Bangalore airport and attempted to strike a conversation with the driver, he was pleasantly surprised and went on and on about how Smartphones have now made journeys very boring.
So, I am in a meeting where I am presenting a report on a serious issue on productivity in our organisation. While I am trying to project the slides and bring out the summary in each slides, I see that the average engagement of the audience is about one slide long. After that almost everyone is either fidgeting with their phones, typing in email replies or texting people that most probably will be seriously upset if not replied back within two seconds. In one of the meetings I simply started talking nonsense. Something which has no relation to what I am presenting and I had no surprise when even the ones that were staring through me did not have any questions or comments!
I have these serious issues about some people in my team and I am trying to catch my manager’s attention on this for some time now. When she finally gives me time, I am prepared about everything and I reach her desk a minute before the scheduled time. I even mute my own smart phone. She makes me wait for a “few” minutes as she is finishing off an important call. Once inside, she appears to be listening to me but her focus is constantly on what new messages have arrived. I feel cheated. I feel disengaged and I go back to my seat without a solution to my problem. Is this what smartphones are supposed to have helped us with?
On my way back home, I am wondering while I blame others for my frustrations, how different am I when it comes to my phone? How many times have I ignored a question from mom while I was busy replying back to a text from some random person? When was the last time I have taken time out to check on father or share a cup of tea with him? This is what will give them happiness and not the fact that I can now book an Uber cab for him remotely when I am unable to receive him from the railway station!
Smart phones have definitely made life simpler for us. But we must be careful we do not abuse this so much so that we lose out on all our relationships in the real world. Simple suggestions to keep phones away when in the presence of others; limiting our online presence on the phone to what is strictly essential and setting the correct expectations with contacts on how “real-time” our responses will be to texts will go a long way to making life richer!
One trick I use on myself to control this abuse is with my resolution to spend as much time working out and keeping fit as much as I waste on social networks during the day. Works very effectively!
Images sourced by author from the Net