Do you control your phone, or does it control you?
If someone took your mobile phone away for eight hours, how would you cope? A simple question that many people answer with, “I would feel naked” or “I can’t live without my phone”.
So the question is a simple one. Can you, and do you ever, turn off your mobile phone? If you see me on the street, I will happily admit I am often there tweeting away, sending an SMS, or surfing the web. Therefore I am probably the last person on earth that you might think would happily say, “I can live without it for a few hours, and at times I like to”.
Each night when I go to bed I turn my phone off, nobody can call me, nobody can SMS me, no emails, messages or otherwise to wake me up. If I go out to a movie, I turn my phone off, I don’t want it vibrating in my pocket, bothering other patrons or interrupting the movie I have paid three limbs and my first born to see. I like to retain control over my device, and control if, and when I can be contacted.
This post comes out of something that happened a little over a year and a half ago when I was out for my birthday dinner with my family at a lovely little restaurant. We were sitting there having a wonderful time when we all observed a couple at another table who had just sat down and both taken their mobile phones out.
From the time they sat down, till the time their food arrived (and much to my own dismay, during their meal) both barely said a word to each other and spent the entire time playing games (and different games so not even a co-op) on their iPhones. It was to the point where I was positively BAFFLED at how anyone could consider the two people as even knowing each other, let alone being out for a romantic dinner.
Is there a solution?
As a geek I know that technology is a part of our daily lives, I struggle to see why people have to grab for their phone the moment they get a message or an SMS, why they insist on letting their phones control their lives. I also can’t believe how often I see social interaction such as the case above with people grabbing for their phones.
Do I think there is a one-size-fits-all solution? Well no, probably not, however I can recommend a great first step for you is to take a step back, next time an SMS comes through, an email goes off or the phone rings, consider whether it is starting to control your life rather than you controlling it. The phone will be there in an hours time, as will any messages or anyone that was trying to call you.
As far as if there is a solution, I can tell you from first hand experience that your friends will need to be “managed” if you start taking back control of your phone, it took me a while to get people used to the fact that I will respond to their messages when I am ready to do so, rather than the instant they popped up on my phone. Initially people may perceive this as rude, but upon explanation they start to understand and accept why I do it.
Having said all this, it is simply my opinion, what are other people’s thoughts? Am I being too old fashioned? Do you have a different opinion or possibly agree with me?