Can we put our smartphones away please?

by Sonja van den Bosch

Can we put our smartphones away please?

Lately I’ve been having a lot of discussions with people about the pro’s and con’s of information being available 24/7 and the effect this has on our lives and the way we do business.

I remember receiving my first mobile phone from work in the mid nineties and Arjen and I having this strict rule to turn our mobiles off the moment we got home, as we didn’t want this device to interrupt with our personal life.

I also remember us venturing on our world trip in 2001, having designed our own website, having bought one of the first digital camera’s and a very small travel-size laptop including a dial up subscription to upload data from landlines in any country, gosh we felt so modern. At that time there was no Facebook, Skype and other forms of mobile communication and our handmade website was a big hit with our friends and family back home.

How life has changed from then onwards…now everybody is constantly online (even people that are travelling or are on holidays) and we have our hand-held distraction machines in our pockets at all time. People get anxious when they have forgotten their phone and sometimes it almost seems like what is going on in the cyber world has a higher priority than what is going on in the real world.

In an article in Alive Magazine they mention that compared to 1980, we cram in an extra 4.4 hours per day of information consumption outside of work, an increase driven by screen-based media. We need an occasional break from technology overload. Powering down and avoiding distractions allows for mindful engagement and gives our brain a chance to recuperate.

Face to faceDon’t get me wrong, I believe that there are some great benefits with the new technology that is available to us, but I think that it is very important to not forget about the value of real human interactions, from a personal perspective as well as from a business perspective.

Looking people in the eye, when you speak to them, being 100% present, really listening to what they have to say all results in enjoyable and meaningful interactions. In my opinion that is still the strongest form of marketing.

In an article by success magazine, they talk about the fact that smartphones have become an escape for us, like cigarettes are for smokers, because you can get away from problems or awkwardness, and go into a different world where you’re comfortable. Also, many young people feel that they are missing out on something if they don’t look at a screen.

Instead of being ruled by our smartphones, we should be the master of our technology devices and use them to our best advantage. I am a big fan of regular time out and having polite mobile manners.

If you want to read the full success magazine article on “Thumbs down to a lack of mobile manners’ please click here.

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3 Comments

  1. Kevin says:

    Thank-you as I agree with your sentiments.

    Here is what drives me nuts.
    Having dinner while you friends are texting.
    Driving while on the phone.
    Staff reading texts in team meetings

    We have become more connected and disconnected at the same time.

  2. I am so glad this topic has been brought up.

    Surely these phones also play a great part in anxiety as the head is buried in an unusual kind of reality.

    Where information is fast and if the reply doesn’t come through in seconds or minutes there must be something wrong, the worry builds, the anxiety builds and what are we left with: a sweaty palm holding a “phone”.

    Social media with children can make or break kids, the amount of anxiety coming from teens is astronomical.
    How many friend’s do we really have?

    What about the people and environment around us it almost goes unnoticed?

    What about personal and brave contact when we speak out face to face rather than messaging?

    The question is when does useful become useless?

  3. Kevin and Natalie,

    Thanks so much for your replies.

    It’s great to see that there are more people who value time out and personal face to face contact.

    Technology has made life a lot easier and has made the world a lot smaller, but we have to ensure that we manage it properly, keep the right balance and teach our kids how to integrate it into their daily lives, without it taking over their lives.

    Sonja

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