Tag Archives: phubbing

“I Wish My Smart Phones Were a Little Smarter”

I wish my phones were a little smarter—both the smart phone that lives in my pocket and is too often screwed into my ear, and the landline phone whose cordless babies are strewn all over our house.

Both phones are pretty amazing. The one in my pocket will do math calculations, connect to the Internet, check my email, give me compass headings and altitude, show me star constellations and planet positions, scan barcodes and QR codes, analyze Wi-Fi signals, take and edit pictures, and serve as a remote control for my television.

It will let me shop on Amazon, read Kindle books, listen to Audible audio books, serve as a GPS, play movies (sad as the little screen is for a big screen flick), keep ten tons of contact info, help me keep in touch with social media (if I’m dumb or addicted enough to want to be more in touch with the foolishness on social media than I already am), keep memos for me, play music (pretty underwhelming on its teeninsy speaker), serve as a dictionary for me to look up words like “teeninsy,” help me check snow depth and quality at selected ski areas, serve as an electronic Bible with about 1,045 versions, and hook me up with daily Scriptures and prayers from The Book of Common Prayer.

That phone will take my pulse and blood pressure (I think it’s mostly guessing at the latter), scan documents (fairly poorly), serve as a virtual reality computer (with goggles attached), become a flashlight, keep my calendar, schedule, and project times, become a small whiteboard, morph into a metronome, make a stab at helping me write songs, keep photos and records of business and other receipts, record voices, give me the weather, identify birds and plants (pretty poorly), give me guitar chords, tune my guitar, let me play a staggering variety of games from flying F16s to shooting turkeys and birds with bad attitudes, and even “flip a coin” for me (a “decision roulette wheel”) if my wife and I or a grandchild or two are having a hard time picking a restaurant.

If I let it, it will also do me the questionable service of being sure I’m never fully present at a family meal or gathering because I’m playing with my electronic tether and phubbing (phone snubbing) the flesh-and-blood folks in my vicinity.

My smartest phone is smart, for sure; if I were smarter, maybe I could figure out if I own it or if it owns me. Smart or not, it or its owner often displays shockingly bad manners and almost no discipline at all.

It won’t yet brush my teeth, install piercings, or remove tattoos (surely the hottest dermatological business opportunity on the horizon). It talks too much, but it is nonetheless pretty darn smart.

Oh, and it will also make and receive calls and texts. Even some that matter.

But, I repeat, my phones need to be smarter. I live on the edge. I mean, on the edge of a time zone and border. I’ve found the right settings, but they won’t stay set: my smart phone is not smart enough to remember what time zone it lives in. And now my new cordless landline phone is having the same dumb problem.

In the midst of all of this smart technology, the most amazing avenue of communication is not just smart, it’s also wise, and it’s universally available and completely free with a great signal.

It’s called prayer.

 

      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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“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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