Invasion Of The SmartPhones

smartphone.jpgForget the invasion of the body snatchers, today our society has been taken over by the smartphone.  They are everywhere.  Just talk a walk on a city sidewalk and you will easily spot them.  We are all looking at our smartphones.  Some are glued to them without regards to their surroundings.

Smartphones have also made us dumb.  This may have been their plan all along.  If we didn’t know better maybe the aliens have used these devices to take us over.  What a brilliant plan – and it’s working.

Hey, I’m a tech guy and I love gadgets.  I love my smartphone too and I have been sucked into the invasion to the point that I can’t seem to function without it either.  This is odd since when I was growing up we managed to survive somehow without a mobile device of any kind.  We had rotary phones.  They weren’t mobile either.

I also don’t know why they still call these mobile devices “phones” anymore.  Most people rarely use the phone part of it to actually talk to anyone.  Making calls and actually speaking to people accounted for just 13 percent of use of our devices.  In today’s world if you want to share news, you do it on some form of social media or by texting.  If someone has a heart attack – even in your family – you are most likely to find this out from a Facebook post.  You would be lucky to even get a personal text message about it.  This is the world we live in.

On numerous occasions, I have stopped people from walking into traffic or alerted them I was in their path while they were hypnotized by their smartphone.  Almost daily on my commute I see people texting or using their smartphones while they are driving.  Even with laws in place to stop it, people are so addicted to it that they are willing to risk it because certainly THEY are safe drivers and can text and drive.   When I am driving behind or near someone who is driving stupid and I pass them, most of the time they are texting or using their smartphones to make them dumb drivers.

More than half of North Americans have admitted to being addicted to their smartphones.  Studies have shown that we check our devices an average of 253 times a day.  So are we truly “mastering” technology or is it mastering us?

So what’s the future for smartphones?

When I was growing up, the excitement of the future was the invention of a video phone.  To be able to see the person you are talking to on the phone was like futuristic-type stuff.  Now, we have Facetime and other apps that make this a common thing.  The technology is constantly evolving.  There are a lot of opinions about the future of smartphones.  Some have suggested a foldable screen that fits into your pocket that is currently being developed in Japan.  I think we are more likely to evolve to some sort of wearable device so that the chances of losing our mobile device is reduced.  I honestly see the future of some electronic implant but that just freaks me out a bit and goes more along the predictions of Biblical prophecy.

The dangerous part of all of this smartphone technology is that our dependency makes us more tied to whoever is controlling the technology.  Whoever controls the technology will control us.  Think about it.  When cell towers go down and our smartphones are useless we tend to panic.  We become disconnected with the world.  Our stress level increases when our devices are inoperable.

So are we slaves to our smartphones?  Unfortunately yes and it is unlikely we can go back to the way things were.

It’s probably a good thing for us to take time and put the phones down or turn them off at some point in our day.  We may have to relearn how to function without them.  Of course, this may last until you need to contact someone.  You aren’t going to find a pay phone anywhere.

So here we are.  Like it or not, we are slaves to the technology.  Our smartphones are the smart ones.  They control us now.






The Lost Art Of The Inside Voice


For most people my age, when we were growing up we were taught the difference between our inside voice and outside voice.

Inside voice is when you use a lower volume on your conversations so as to be considerate of others.    Outside voice is one you can use at a higher volume without restrictions of annoying others.

The smartphone has seemingly exceeded any boundaries as people will routinely carry on a conversation without regard to who is around or could be listening.  I have often said that it would be easy to be a private investigator today because you wouldn’t have to necessarily get someone’s phone records, you could just follow them around and eavesdrop on their end of their telephone conversation to get all the information you need.

This mentality even carries over into normal conversations.   When I am at a restaurant or public place, I don’t want to hear someone else’s conversation.  Once we were at a restaurant where it wasn’t difficult to hear the party behind us totally gossip about a party that was late but then when the party showed up they were as nice as could be.  Their loud conversation the rest of the meal drowned out any conversation my wife and I attempt to have.

The problem is that we live in a world where people do not consider others.  Period.  People live in their own world and have the “friends list” mentality where if you are not in my group of friends then you do not exist in my world.

Even in the workplace, people will neighbor and even use their speaker phone because they are too lazy to pick up the headset without regard that other people may be working or doing a task which requires their concentration.

The thing that’s really annoying is that some people who violate the inside voice rules also let the language fly without concern for who is listening.  So there is usually a good chance you’ll hear the F-word or worse being thrown around.  In the old days, men used to be considerate when ladies or preachers were around.  Now, there is no such consideration.  It’s very sad that adults have no thought of manners or consideration of others.

Unless you are in a bar, try to remember there are other people around who may not want to hear your conversation.   I don’t want to hear about office gossip, details of childbirth or any other drama in your life.  Talk to the people you are with and adjust your volume to them.

In today’s sensitive, anger triggered world, you can’t say anything to people or ask them – even politely – to talk lower or they will want to fight your or worse.  The easiest thing is to get away from the inconsiderate person.

Voice Levels:

  • 0 – Silence is Golden – Absolute silence.  No one is talking.  (Like during a movie)
  • 1 – Spy Talk – Whispering, only one person can hear you.
  • 2 – Low Flow – Small group.  Only the people in your group can hear you.
  • 3 – Formal Normal – Normal conversation voice.
  • 4 – Loud Crowd – When public speaking or teaching.  Everyone can hear you.
  • 5 – Out of Control – Anything goes.  No restraint.

Unfortunately sometimes we are just really big kids who need a reminder to use our inside voice.