Before I get to what’s on my mind today, I want to remind you that tomorrow is discussion day for the Read With Us summer book selection, Unsettled Ground. Bonny and Kym and I will be posting questions on our blogs and then holding a zoom meet up at 7pm EST to discuss the book with anyone interested. It’s not too late to join us, just leave a comment or send me an email and I’ll make sure you get an invite.
I went for a haircut on Friday and had to wait a few minutes for my stylist. While I was sitting there, a young woman was brought over to sit under the hair dryer. Her stylist made a point of telling her, “if you’re on your phone, make sure you hold it up at eye level so you aren’t looking down at it, otherwise the front of your hair won’t be getting enough heat.” Made perfect sense to me but I didn’t think too much of it at the time.
Then, last night, Dale and I were watching the Patriot’s game and every time they scanned the crowd I was struck by how many spectators were looking at their phones. I’d guess it was 1 in 4 that was looking down at a cell phone . . . while at a major (and rather expensive) sporting event.
Now. I’m probably shouldn’t judge, as I have an iPhone that I’m very attached to and I enjoy time on Facebook and Instagram and (lately anyway) TikTok. But, I like to think, and I’m aware that I could be very wrong about this, that I’m pretty cognizant of putting down the phone and . . . you know . . . living my life. Being present. Engaging with the people and things happening around me. I can absolutely tell you that I wouldn’t be looking down at a phone while attending a Pat’s game.
I think it’s safe to say that cell phones and devices are here to stay and an accepted part of our daily lives. At the same time, though, I think we have to be very careful about just how much we’re engaging with these devices and how much we might actually be missing by not putting down the phone and looking around. Phones are a great tool for so may things (remind me to tell you about the great meal planning app I just started using) and I have a lot of apps that I use that are not related to social media at all . . . Spotify and podcasts and Audible and so much more. And none of it is wrong. But some of it . . . well . . . maybe it’s too much.
I’m making a promise to myself, and I’m telling all of you so that I don’t forget, to engage more with people I am with and not so much with those on the screen. To save the social media stuff for when I’m alone. To be fully present.
I’m a firm believer in you-do-you, so please don’t take this as me lecturing you on your personal cell phone habits. But if you’ve got a little voice telling you that you’re maybe on TikTok too much (raises hand) then perhaps you’d like to reconsider how you spend your time, too.
And that’s what’s on my mind this Monday.
I totally agree with you about iPhone use. I hate more than anything to go to a restaurant and see people on their phones totally ignoring everyone around them. Parents ignoring their kids, kids ignoring their parents and worst of all, the whole family ignoring each other. I may be old fashioned but what happened to gathering around the table to eat and connecting with each other after a long day. There is nothing on your phone that could be more important than your family. There is nothing on your phone that can’t wait until you are alone. Wake Up before it is too late!
Agree. It’s along story, but my phone sits on our dining table. It’s also face down when we’re dining together. It’s more about the act of putting it face down than about it being that way. It’s me saying ‘not now’. Surprising how it makes a difference.
Last week at a Chinese restaurant, I saw a couple of parents on their phones continuously while their 3 year-old yelled from her high chair. They were on their phones while eating, while drinking, and even while yelling at their daughter to be quiet. I wanted to go over and interact with the little girl but I decided to mind my own business. I was judging them based on one incident but it was still sad to see. People are always more important than whatever might be on my phone.
I, too, love my phone. But NOT when I’m around other people or – for heaven’s sake – at an event (y’know . . . when I used to BE at events). Once, pre-pandemic, Tom and I were at a concert and this young woman sitting near us was on her phone THE ENTIRE TIME — never watching the stage or the performers. She was “living” the entire event through her damn phone. It was super distracting, because her screen was very visible. Ultimately the guy behind her asked her to PLEASE put her phone away. She did. But not for long. Eventually, she took her phone and left her seat — presumably to continue using her phone somewhere else. It was disgusting — but mostly just sad. I can’t EVEN with parents who are on their screens when their kids are around . . .
I will chime in here, while agreeing with everyone above, and say that you should evaluate how much you are on your phone when you are alone. I heard everyone above saying that they try to stay off their phone when they are with other people, but I also think it is important not to use your phone as a crutch to entertain yourself every time you are alone. I don’t think it is healthy to need to be entertained all the time. What happened to just thinking and/or enjoying the natural world? I take long walks every day, and I am amazed that most people I see are walking while on their phones! It’s an addiction that is rewiring our habits and our lives. Technology is here to work for us; we should not be slaves to technology. LOL
Agreed that ignoring nature is a waste but…going for a walk is one way to have a private conversation out of earshot of one’s nearest and dearest. If I didn’t have a phone that can leave home, I’d never talk to anyone privately.
I’m very good about not being on the phone when I’m with people but seem to go through spurts at home where I am just scrolling IG and it’s a complete waste of good knitting and reading time!
Barbara Seiver says
I agree about living the event you’re attending. I even got to the point that I didn’t want to spend my vacation posing for pictures – I wanted to spend the time enjoying what we were doing.
Back in the Before Times when I used to buy lunch at the cafeteria at work, I was always struck by how most of the people in line at the cashier were staring at their phones — to the point that they would not even look up at the cashier or speak — just stuck their credit cards out for her to scan. SO RUDE. No wonder the cashier always greeted me like an old friend: I was one of very few people who made eye contact, smiled, and said hello.
At some event I was at in the before times (a wedding, maybe?), someone who was speaking asked everyone who was gathered to put down their phones and observe the event directly, rather than through a small screen. I wasn’t one of the people who had their phone out at the time, and I remember being amazed how many people were missing what was happening because they were so focused on making sure they were getting their photo or video right. I get that we want to capture much of our lives, but I think that because we always have a camera with us, we aren’t fully experiencing things because we are seeing them all through a screen. I’m as addicted to my phone as many people, but I also feel like I know when to put it down.