All these cartoons and snide comments about people using their phones and other devices kind of irritate me. You’ve seen ’em. Like so much other commentary flying around social media, these are smug judgments about how people at dinner tables are immersed in what’s on their devices or taking pics of the beach instead of looking at the actual view. Some of you reading this probably squirmed at my use of the abbreviated word “pics,” didn’t you? I know this, because I do that myself sometimes. We humans (or is just Americans?) tend to use something helpful and then run with it. Vitamin C comes to mind. Too much supplemental Vitamin C can mess with your kidneys. So we overuse our phones and forget the other beings in our vicinity.
We are also a judgmental species, a trait that, I guess, stops us from drinking sour-smelling milk and attaching ourselves to people who threaten our security. (Oh, wait–I do that a lot… But that’s a topic for another post.)
Well I just want to say that I’m writing this post on my phone in a coffee shop right now, people, and I like it. You may even be reading this on your mobile device. So, take it easy, pooh-poohers of all things strange and wonderful! Technology isn’t inherently evil. Neither is choosing to use it in public or within groups, IMHO. This morning, I read my meditation, checked email, messaged a lonely friend, and replenished my daughter’s lunch account, all on my phone. I’m enjoying my quiet time away from home, where there are too many distractions.
You perhaps are now thinking of those folks you know who are always their phones in your presence, even when you’re having a conversation, even when you’re really, really needing them to listen, for God’s sake!
I know; I have been on both sides of that situation. There is definitely a need for device use etiquette. I think the rules are the same as any other social environment: when you’re talking with someone, give them your attention. Look them in the eye. Use some sort of cue to let them know you heard. Respond. And, if you’re bothered by their phone addiction, tell them. I have a friend who does this in the nicest way, and now I put my phone away when I’m visiting with her and other humans. One exception: I always glance to see if a text or call is from my kid or other family.
We can handle our phones the same way we’d put down the newspaper or book we’re reading. As for the dinner table? Same rules as always: no reading (or gaming or Instagramming) at the table, kids! (Or at the party. Or in church.). Unless, of course, the entire group is reading/playing/posting together, which is great fun.
So there’s my 2 cents. I had a great time writing the above at my place before the fire in the coffee shop. BTW, I had a great conversation with my poet friend after that. My phone was across the room in my purse.
Peace and Joy.
There are books on Amazon about device use etiquette. Here’s one that looks good, although I haven’t read it yet: Electronic Etiquette: Cell Phones, Netiquette, Social Media? Oh my…