Friday, April 22, 2016

My Smartphone is making me stupid



There. I said what a lot of us are thinking; my Smartphone is making me stupid - or stupider, I can’t decide.  I can’t or won’t make that call. I see evidence of it every day not only of those around me, but in my own life.

We wonder what time it is, glance at our phone to see and immediately forget.  The reason we do this is we know we can look again and again and again. The same goes for the date and the day of the week. Can’t remember a fact? Just speak it into our phone and a voice will explain it, then we can forget it again. Why remember anything? Its like voting in the primary; it isn’t necessary.

On Facebook, we don’t have to actually think or come up with something original (like a thought), because we can “like” or “share” and now, “react!” (Boom!) to something some genuine smart person wrote or said. Better yet we can post an emoji or animated .gif that really and truly is profound and expressive of our foggy thoughts. The funny pictures are more fun than whatever we are thinking.

We have arrived at the enlightened state where people walk off cliffs or drive their cars into light poles and up on medians because their Smartphone is steering their short attention. We’ve learned the once lost art of burning rubber to make it through that yellow light after 30 seconds of green has evaded us while we stare at the little illuminated screen.

Our Smartphones have given us something to do with our hands when we are idle – forget cigarettes (they are so old school!). What? I am supposed to read a magazine at the doctor’s office or make casual conversation with another patient? (Seriously rolling my eyes here.) If I want to be social, I’ll text you (a lot less germs you know).

Then there is this: nomophobia. Nomophobia is the fear of being out of mobile phone contact. “What?  No signal?  MOMMY!  Uh, I can’t even breathe! Can’t anyone see I’m dying here! This is serious! I mean, like help!”

How ridiculous. More often than not I leave my phone in my gym bag or my Jeep and 3 hours later I retrieve it. Sometimes it spends the night inside one of those 2 dark places and I think I’m fairly well connected. If I have a meeting or sit in church, I just turn it off or leave it in my vehicle. I’m even one of those rare people who doesn’t wear headphones in the gym or when I am jogging and or riding my bike.

As I’ve said before, I repair PC computers. Over the last 2 years this has became sporadic at best as more people abandon their laptop and desktops for a handheld “computer-like” device. This is fine for many banal activates, but there is no handheld substitute for a sit in front of computer.

Try writing a page of text or researching a subject to any real depth to understand what I am saying. I run 3 large screens here in the Orbiting Command Ship Central and often have 2 or more windows open on each. I like what I do here and I like ferreting out virus’ from people’s computers, but I surely don’t get separation anxiety when no computers come in. I like to read copious amounts of information and a little handheld device simply doesn’t fulfill my need.

What I think will happen in the future is people will wake up and realize this little handheld device is not as smart of a decision as they once thought. It is getting people in trouble left and right, not to mention distracting them from literally everything. The computer that it is, is great, but it needs to be used as such, rather than as a friend and a constant companion to the exclusion of everything and everyone around you – especially when driving!  Hello!

The truth is that we don’t need to be that connected. It is good to go off the grid on a regular basis. “Hey look, Mom!  No hands!”  Hey, it’s liberating to ride this bike without touching the handlebars now and again. Try it. Shut that phone off for a half hour. “Uh, you mean like really, really shut it off, like literally?”

Yup, shut er down. Unplug. See how long you can go. The longer the better and after the initial anxiety wears off you’ll realize how much more relaxed you’ve become. When you turn it on and forty-seventy billion texts come in, just erase them. They were fluff anyway. I promise you; it won’t hurt and you will feel smarter too.
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8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Johnny Connaly: Very truthful. The thing I note is when 1 person, stranger or not, takes out their phone others follow their lead. Even me, when I had no intention of taking mine out. My biggest issue is when a person is speaking, particularly in classroom or church setting, and person on their phone.

. . . . . said...

Last night in indoor cycling class, I could see 5 people looking at their phones.

Anonymous said...

It is sad to see a family or friends out to eat and heads bowed to their smart phones. ..Debi

Anonymous said...

Tammy Tallant: So very true!! I love this article!!!

Anonymous said...

SB: Yep . . . Texting and driving is killing us.

Just the day before yesterday Gail and I were sitting at a red light and a USPS mail delivery truck drove straight into the rear end of the car in the lane just to our right. Knocked her about 20 feet out into the intersection. Good thing no one was coming from the sides, so she didn't get hit again!

After it was all over . . . the light turned green.

Wonder who was texting?

Sam

Anonymous said...

Love your Sun article. Sadly, I'm among the cell phone junkies of which you correctly wrote. I depend on it for so many things, knowing I'm not even using 10% of which it is capable! Hate knowing my phone is smarter than I!

Eleanor

Patrick Newman said...

It constantly amazes me every time Cindy and I take a cruise just how many people purchase all sorts of internet plans to stay connected. Our phones go off and stay off the whole cruise (unless we need them for an emergency in a port). I don't buy any sort of internet package, and in fact don't even watch network TV on the ship. I try to stay as unplugged as possible.

. . . . . said...

Take a look at this: http://www.kurzweilai.net/your-smartphone-and-tablet-may-be-making-you-adhd-like

What, me read? Isn't that a 4 letter word?

I had an appointment this week at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center to have an echocardiogram, which by the way is an EKG ti...