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),  Head of Content / Executive Editor for On Being
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33 ReflectionsRead/Add Yours

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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33Reflections

I had the same thing happen 30 years ago when everyone had a camcorder at my baby's baptism. I thought no one was really there.

There have been times when I've avoided taking pictures at important events, for wanting to just BE there instead. What's more important, to have a souvenir later, or to be fully present in that moment?
Maybe this will seem extremely odd for me not to have had a camera, but one of those moments was the birth of my children (who are now about five weeks old). At the time it just didn't occur to me to have a camera. Looking back, I'm glad I wasn't fiddling with a gadget - I can remember it better in my head right now, than if I had a device as intermediary for memory. I feel, even if I can't perfectly remember it later, I was there, in that moment, experiencing it directly, with my family. That's better than having an artificial copy through a tiny rectangular window, and needing that as a surrogate to experience the moment

IMHO. One does not have to take a picture (one picture) at the top of the evening in order to remember it later. Now you can not feel the joy of that memory, but when you brain ceeases to recall events of last week, you will certainly enjoy remember that party long ago. A party that has been completely forgotten until that little photo finds it.

Yeah, I agree, also that birth picture thing is really questionable, boundary-wise! I had twins and a singleton before that and no birth pictures but pictures soon after and through the amazing 1s and 2s and 3s. It has to work with your life, this picture taking. Better to be there in real time. In the video, the bowler who hits it big and finds out NO ONE noticed was hilarious!

And your point is...?

they are saying to be present in the moment is a better choice

The problem of people refusing to be present in social interactions has been around for all my 50 years. In school we would daydream, in relationships we would play poker while our wives read romance novels. Even during the poker games we told funny stories of things that happened once before while our wives fantasized about marrying men who didn't play poker. I noticed 20 years before the "smart phone" was invented that some people can be looking you in they eye and pretending to be listening but at the same time be somewhere else. If you love your life you will show up for it. You will want to smell the smells and soak in the colors and movement around you. I do love my life but I also use technology. I just told a woman I haven't seen in 2 years and who I may never see again, how special she was to a local charity event. I wouldn't have made that little connection without social media. Overall, technology is still serving to keep me connected to others. Look at me now, I am sharing my thoughts with people who have the shared experience of watching this brief video and whom I will never meet. Now it is time to turn off this machine and enjoy a high definition full color versiopn of by beautiful back yard. Cheers

I agree very much with David. We all love new technology, but knowing how to use it to make our lives better is the key! In the '70's I lived in the Caribbean and did scuba as a hobby. I became interested in underwater photography until one day on a beautiful dive, I realized I was missing the dive as I worked to get some great shots - I quit underwater photography - but many people still do that today.

Sorry to say that this makes me sad. Is it ironic that I watched the this on my phone...??
I do try to avoid using my phone when I'm spending time with people. It bugs the heck out of me when my wife uses her phone when we're spending time together.

The back lights in the older phones are CFL and have mercury vapor in them. Best for you and your house not to do this.

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