Smart Phones Are Isolating Us From Each Other

Fate Nation Chernoff in Lifestyle on Jan 8, 2016

It’s happened to all of us. We are having a conversation, connections are being made, and then…a lull.

Most of us don’t know it but the way we deal with that lull is not only unique to our generation but is hindering us from having meaningful conversations with others.

So what do we do in that lull? Well, most of us look down at our dark screens of our smartphone and proceed to turn it on. We begin finding things to read or people to digitally talk to you because we can’t bare being in an awkward situation even for a second. And that’s fine. If it were a brief interlude. But it’s not. Not even close. When we check our phone we end up being absorbed. We open Twitter, a cool article, a cat video, anything. Next thing you know five minutes pass and the conversation must now be revived. And unless you’re a social superstar or just love to hear yourself talk (like myself), it’s hard to revive it. The lulls become longer and more frequent. Pretty soon it’s just you and the person you’re with posting Snapchat photos of each other so the whole world can know that the two of you are friends. This is not how meaningful conversation is made.

The key to meaningful conversation as thought by professionals is to “break down personal barriers” and actually listen to what the other person is saying (crazy right?). Looking at our phone hinders us from those two things. Some people don’t find this to be a problem. Some, (many of my fellow students) find this to be a non-issue. something blown out of proportion. Others, however, take this issue very seriously and have taken action.

Some believe that to truly connect we must in a sense “disconnect” from the world digitally. Joe Hollier and Kaiwei Tung feel this way. Those two men are the creators of the kick-starter product The Light Phone.

The light phone is essentially a phone that only allows one to receive and make calls. It’s primary purpose is to “disconnect” one from the digital world so that they may enjoy the present. I can dig it. Now how is it’s functionality any different than my mother’s early 2000s flip-phone? I don’t know. But their sentiment of disabling the digital world to enjoy the present one is a sentiment many idealists, and health professionals, have gotten behind.

A new study finds that the average American spends a total of 4.7 hours a day on their phone. We spend a crazy amount of time on our phones, time that can be spent doing so many cool and productive things. With that in mind, Let’s put the phone down when we are having lunch with a friend, or watching that movie, etc. Or not. I don’t care. Now if you excuse me I have to send this text message. (See how annoying that is?!)


Originally published at theodysseyonline.com on January 8, 2016.

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