When the Phone Rules All (video)

Monday, August 26, 2013 - 8:30am
When the Phone Rules All (video)

A video that serves as a humorous indictment of our addiction to technology and lack of connection with others.

Post by:
Trent Gilliss (@TrentGilliss),  Executive Editor / Chief Content Officer for On Being
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This video is funny... only because it's true. I'm watching this and thinking of Sherry Turkle's observation that adults are much more susceptible to technology's lure than children today:

"I believe that there are some places that, in the car, it's reasonable to say, 'Hey, I'm going back to my friends. I want to tell them I'm coming.' Every place you are with your children, you can't say is a sacred space. That doesn't fly. But I think that, for families as they grow up, I do feel strongly about this because really this dinner table thing has been such a theme in my research, such a theme as teenagers look back on their lives and what they miss. It's teenagers who say, 'My parents text at the dinner table.'

There's a story in my book: This young man has a mother who is a gourmet cook. So her pleasure is in making these long, long, many-course meals and that's how she shows her love for her family. And she's married to a kind of master of the universe, kind of Wall Street-type guy, and he's on his BlackBerry all through dinner. And their son starts to try to negotiate with the mother: Could she prepare shorter meals so that then maybe the father would put away the BlackBerry? But he's not going to do it if it's a four-course meal. But maybe he would do it if it was basically just soup and salad, or maybe he would do it if it was just salad and a grilled steak. You know, you see a teenager trying to negotiate some way to get this BlackBerry out of the dinner table, and it's touching."

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Trent Gilliss is the driving editorial and creative force behind On Being. He received a Peabody Award in 2007 for his work on "The Ecstatic Faith of Rumi" and garnered two Webby Awards (in 2005, and again in 2008). The Online News Association nominated his journalistic work multiple times in the general excellence and outstanding specialty journalism categories. Trent's reported and produced stories from Turkey to rural Alabama, from Israel and the West Bank to Cambridge, England.

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Written by/Starring Charlene deGuzman
Directed by Miles Crawford

Im a product designer from Stockholm, and I wrote my thesis on this subject! What I call the " One click involvement"!
My scare is that we are loosing touch with our physical identity since we are working so hard designing our online one! I came up with a quite argumentative solution, and I did this 3 min video! It's filmed in nordic Stockholm, and it aint suppose to be funny. https://vimeo.com/66715131


What is more annoying ? You throw out a fact during conversation and say you are not too sure if it is true or you mention that you had forgotten the full title of the book you had just read...click click click everyone's gadget is out and in a second the answers are shouted out triumphantly ! Did I really want to be accurate? When a guest enters my home I would love to have them turn in cell phones, Ipads, Blackberrys, and place them on a tray. And we could then learn to savor our own brand of humor, wit, information and laughter.

These thoughts and fragments come to mind after watching this.

The commentator above got it right when he said people have been using technology to tune out for a long time.

What if what is there in the outer world is less meaningful than what you find in your own thoughts? I try to be there for life, but find that I tune out simply by going off someplace in my head when the outer world is less than engaging. I did it as a school boy, I do it now when bored, especially in group settings where I can't easily escape, but can be inconspicuous. Face to face with another I try to stay attentive, but will excuse myself when the talking is meaningless chatter, meant only to fill the silence that some find so uncomfortable. When I find something or someone interesting or meaningful, nothing can pull my attention away.

The thing about the phones and personal devices is that people's lack of attention to the moment is so apparent, in your face.

A story. Last month as my family and I were flying into Seattle, the plane banked around Mt. Rainier. It was a magnificent view of this beautiful, snow covered rock that filled the window. In the seat across the aisle, sat a young man busy with an ipad. His companion directed him to the mountain outside. The young man pulled out his phone, snapped a photo, and turned back to his ipad.

Technology is so ubiquitous that I suspect that many of the young generation of digital natives would see nothing funny or ironic about this video. "Yeah, so...?"

I think that's the sad point. You mentioned if you find something/someone interesting or meaningful, nothing can pull your attention away. When this video showed the woman at a gathering with friends, one on one with friends, etc, people had their eyes/head down in their phones. I don't think people give anyone a chance to be interesting or meaningful, we're so worried we'll miss something. What are we missing though? Recently I saw a family of 4 walk into a restaurant. Both kids and the dad were on their phones at the table as they walked in and sat down. Only the mom picked up the menu. I was thinking they couldn't even break their connection to read the menu? It was an odd scene. (I hope no one says that's just like people eating in front of the TV---in that case, there is a focal point there, you know you're goign to focus on the show. But around a dinner table? You're not going to interact? Why bother going to the table at all in that case?) Rhetorical questions...

It was hard for me to see the humor in this piece. The young woman is trying very hard to make contact with those who matter to her and they are, effectively, captives of their devices. Not funny; sad and cautionary.

Ditto. I agree wholeheartedly. Soul sucking technology.

Funny? It's frightening and such a SAD story. Mass isolation by keeping "connected". Open
your eyes. Smell the roses. Our souls are being eaten away on text at a time.

Only Once by Denise Levertov

All which, because it was

flame and song and granted us

joy, we thought we'd do, be, revisit,
turns out to have been what it was
that once, only; every initiation

did not begin

a series, a build-up: the marvelous
did happen in our lives, our stories
are not drab with its absence: but don't
expect now to return for more. Whatever more
there will be will be

unique as those were unique. Try

to acknowledge the next

song in its body-halo of flames as utterly

present, as now or never.

I feel like my husband is not "present" in our marriage because he always does this - and I mean ALWAYS.


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