I do not recall ever begin connected emotionally to a blanket or teddy bear. If I was, I have blocked the memory of that traumatic moment when I said goodbye to it for the last time.
When you sit down at a table to enjoy a conversation with a mate or friend do you automatically reach into your pocket and place your phone on the table? You’re not alone. Has your phone become your tech security blanket?
Although the cultural prophets poke fun at the masses who are staring at a screen every hour they are awake, it is a reality that we see everywhere around us.
I can’t really explain it but I wonder if having a phone at our fingertips has become the new security blanket. Breaking our phone addiction has become a concern for some … but the truth is most of us do not want to be separated from our phone. It is much more than a phone …. it is a living accumulative record of the lives of people we care about … and some people we do not even know. Perhaps we are living vicariously through the incredibly exciting people we’ve managed to connect to, but would never actually call or meet for conversation. It can be a problem that sucks the life out of us every day – intruding into the very real relationships near us.
So some really smart person decided that “a technology-free alternative to constant hand-to-phone contact” was in order. Like an electronic fake cigarette, a non-alcoholic beer or a sugar-free candy bar … a close enough substitute to satiate us partially while we try to break the cycle. The noPhone is not a phone. You can’t take a picture with it. You can’t talk to anyone, check Facebook, Twitter, nor Instagram. You can’t text a buddy or set an alarm or read a book on it.
But you can keep it in your hands while you have a genuine uninterrupted conversation with a real person. Scary, huh.
So we’ve gone from rejoicing in the amazing technology at our fingertips to being unable to escape it. We’ve heard all the warnings that Facebook ‘friends’ are nice, but not good enough to take the place of real friends and face-to-face conversations.
Breaking free from security blankets is tough business for youngsters and, it appears, for oldsters too. We can lay blame to too much caffeine, overloaded schedules, incredibly high work demands, too little rest, too many demands, fractured families, high anxiety, escapism addiction … the list grows. But whether we can identify the real culprit of the addiction that has led to the rise of a noPhone or not, it doesn’t take much observation to see the need.
Have you thought about maybe….
*Leaving your phone safely out of sight in your glove compartment when you go into a restaurant?
*Taking an occasional day off from Social Media? (What are you going to miss, really? Tony Roberts takes a Social Media Sabbath weekly.)?
*Asking God to help you identify the need you have to keep your phone within touching distance?
*Not having a smartphone? Aren’t we connected enough in most places with computers and tablets?
I don’t know the answers. I do know that a lot of good encouragement can be found on social media that is accessed by smartphones. I try to encourage others and bring a smile. But is it my duty to be the minister and entertainer of the social media universe? I don’t even want to start addressing the sour and bitter communications I see.
Maybe a good first step is just awareness … and starting in small ways to break the habit.
By the way, did you know that iPhone 6 is likely to be unveiled tomorrow?
Thanks for stopping by, John.