Tag Archives: cell phones

“Shaky? Nauseous? Pale? Oh, You Turned Off Your Cell Phone!”

 

Face it. More than a few of us are addicts. For all addicts, the first step toward recovery is summed up in one word: honesty. That means admitting we have a problem.

And we do. Nomophobia. That’s the official name for cell phone addiction. The term actually means “no mobile phone fear.” Of course, a phobia is an irrational or excessive fear. And “no mobile phone” means, in this context, that the digital device might be (Careful! I warn you, these are terrifying prospects!) lost, misplaced, turned off, battery dying or depleted, left at the house or office or in the car, etc.

The designers of these devices and their “apps” have long been aware of their addictive potential. Of course, the design folks work their techno-magic to the best advantage for their company or advertisers to keep us checking, glued to, enslaved by, the devices we own that too easily own us.

The actual research regarding what happens in our brains, and, more sobering, the brains of our kids, when we/they feel a deep need to be constantly on or checking our phones or apps is as interesting as it is troubling.

In a Business Insider article by Madeleine Stowe (http://www.businessinsider.com/what-is-nomophobia-2014-7), Dr. David Greenfield, a leading expert in this arena, says that when we get a notification from our phones, an elevation in dopamine occurs in our brains. Dopamine is “a neurotransmitter” that “regulates the brain’s reward system” and is a key component in all addictions. Who knows? That notification might be something gratifying or important, and so, for our brains, our cell phones become the miniature slot machines we are compulsively checking as our brain wants a payout, a fix, a reward.

“Google” this, if you dare: “signs you are addicted to your phone.” And get ready to be uncomfortable. You’ll find a bunch of articles on “10 Signs” or “25 Signs” and most of us don’t need nearly that many to fail (or be nailed by) the test miserably. If you’re a little nauseated or ticked off by the prospect of looking at such an article, I rest my case. Maybe “1 Sign” will suffice.

We might also just try some simple experiments.

*Keep a log of how many times a day we check our phones.

*Notice how often we are phubbing others (“phubbing” is “phone snubbing” and there’s no courteous way to do it) by focusing on our phones, disregarding, and thus demeaning the people around us.

*Eat a meal with our phone off, put away, or throttled all the way down. I mean, really, is it vital for most of us non-emergency personnel to have our phones at the table during a meal—or is it just one more proof of addiction? Care about teaching your kids manners, parents? Teach them about this—and show them. Please!

I actually heard of a church recently where social media access is electronically blocked on their campus. Good!

Speaking of social media, here’s a way to get a daily dopamine fix by playing a game of chance. How about for a week or two or 52, flipping a coin each morning? Tails? No Facebook or other social media today. Faces? I mean, heads? Scroll your heart out, all a-twitter that day, as much as you want! How much courage/discipline would that test take from addicts like us? Probably more than we have. Still it’d be well worth a try.

Lots of blessings become curses—even idols—if we don’t use them wisely, throttle them back, give them away, quit bowing before them, or, in this case, just regularly turn them off.

One God is enough.

Note: I do not recommend tossing this column at your spouse or others—or whimsically sending it to their phone. 1) Addicts are easily angered, even dangerous. 2) Self-righteousness is as bad as addiction.

 

        You’re invited to visit my website at http://www.CurtisShelburne.com!

 

 

 

Copyright 2017 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.

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Telephonically Speaking, Society Has Turned a Corner

Old-cellphone

I wonder when we turned the corner? Telephonically speaking, I mean.

Once upon a time having a cell phone was a very cool thing, a “status symbol” even. (Hey, I remember when having a telephone with push buttons and not a rotary dial was cool.)

The first cell phone I ever spied looked like spy Maxwell Smart’s shoe phone. Remember him? Ahead of his time, he was the klutzy TV series “secret agent” (Get Smart was the series, even though it helped us get smarter not at all) who’d take off his shoe, stick it up to his ear, and make a phone call.

The obviously “high maintenance” gal I saw years ago parading through a hospital waiting room didn’t look like Maxwell Smart. She looked like somebody well worth avoiding, but she did have a big beige plastic thing, something on the order of a man’s Size 11 shoe, stuck up to her face. She was talking into it and seemed keen on everyone noticing, which I guess we did.

Many moons have passed since then. Now even the most intelligent yard dogs and the most not-so-smart humans (not just Maxwell Smart), either have a cell phone or a cell phone has them. That’s why it’s been years since you’ve had a simple meal when everyone at the table was fully present and not focused on a phone. Most folks don’t mean to be impolite; the young ones have never seen anyone actually try to eat without a phone.

It might not make the list of time-honored spiritual disciplines, but on the modern list should be this grueling exercise: consider going to a meal occasionally and leaving your phone switched off or in the car.

Unless you’re a brain surgeon or hooked up to NORAD and the president and the Pentagon require your immediate concurrence should they want to launch nuclear missiles, most folks will find that the world will keep on spinning for an hour or so even if they’re un-tethered from their phone. Bad news will be just as bad an hour later and good news will be an even nicer surprise.

But I warn you: the first time or two you try it, you may feel a little shortness of breath, some tightness in your chest, and perhaps a little free-floating anxiety. Counseling and medication are available should such symptoms continue or worsen. Others (very few, but some) have chosen to travel this one-hour “phone-fast” road before; you’re not alone.

Yep, we’ve turned a corner. The time was when having a cell phone was a status symbol. Now I’m told the real status symbol is NOT having a cell phone. It’s having “people” whose cell phones have them. They make and take the calls you never have to. Hmm.

Some days I’d like to give my phone to the dog, as long as she’d promise to give it back when the grandkids are calling.

I wonder how our Creator does it? He stays on the line all the time, always awaiting our call. Whenever we want to talk about anything at all, he considers that very good news.

 

     You’re invited to visit my website at http://www.CurtisShelburne.com!

 

 

Copyright 2015 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.


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