Posted in Off Topic

Addicted to Gadgets?

Reading “Seven rules to stop your phone taking over your life” article a couple days ago reminded me of the thoughts i’ve had regarding this phenomenon centered around gadgets and social media and the effects they have on social life — when they are consulted more than real people, and/or worse, deemed more important/engaging than human interaction. It wasn’t the first article written/i read on this topic, and it won’t be the last — others’ takes on this very issue, how similar they can be, always interests me.

Predictably, there’s nothing groundbreaking here. The same problem is stated as the opener, followed by a series of suggestions on how to deal with it. Those put forth in the article, however, is part of “smarter smartphone code of conduct” on Australia’s Sunshine Coast. A lot of people may agree with it yet can’t stay away from their hi-tech devices anyway. That’s why such scene is only becoming more rampant nowadays. Perhaps it should be made into an awareness campaign?

Talk now, text later
Because… how often do you see somebody walking with their eyes glued to the screen? Stand in the way and s/he’ll surely bump into you. Or people sitting at the table not talking to each other, too absorbed in the world in their hand? Or you being stuck in that situation, totally snubbed? Or maybe you are the guilty party? I mean, how hard it is to put down your phone, enjoy the meal before you, and strike up a confab with those at the table for one freaking hour??

You may be the busiest person on the planet who cannot leave the business unattended for even a minute and has to take unending phone calls during lunch/dinner and whatnot. Still, that practice, or continuously messaging others, or checking your/others’ feeds, or giggling over the replies, or playing games, is plain rude and disrespectful, especially when you are the inviter.

Technology has been so advanced it enables us to do anything imaginable, yet it doesn’t come without consequences. So much so that there’s this local expression that technology and/or internet “mendekatkan yang jauh, menjauhkan yang dekat” (loose translation: “bring people closer to those who are far away whilst push those who are near away”). The irony~

Take a phone-free day
The last thing i wanna do is jump on the bandwagon and be one of them. Hence my disinclination to embrace the latest trend. That’s why i switched to smartphone only this year, which happened only because it’s gifted to me. That’s why i only have two ‘older’ social media/networking accounts, use one mobile messaging app, and do not even subscribe to monthly data plan. There’s wifi at work, there’s broadband at home, there’s also wifi at pretty much any outlet, and i don’t see a need to stay connected while i’m on the road. Not that i would be unreachable anyway — there’s conservative way of communication through text and call.

That’s why i can leave the house/spend the day without my phone. I don’t feel like i’m missing anything out, or losing out on not being in the know of the latest updates from so-and-so or this-and-that. If something is important enough for me to know, i’ll surely get to it. I’m not a fan of (over)sharing my daily minutes/thoughts with the world, who won’t care anyway, so that works out just fine.

Avoid being a search-it-all
What this means is to try not to be too dependent on your smarter-than-you gadget. It’s easy to get any possible answer for any possible inquiry we have from the internet. We want the best out of our time and money, and to see beforehand if something worth it, but sometimes, knowing too much kills the fun. No surprises is not fun, no?

Elbows and phones off the table
Very self-explanatory, this point. Probably because i touched this under “Talk now, text later” section above. Another emerging situation i didn’t mention is the case where the gizmos are used as modern-day pacifier. When children are unusually quiet and well-behaved, chances are they have a phone/table/console on hand. *faceplam* Parents these days…

For me, placing my phone on any dining table is a no-no, both for security reason and to avoid any mishap. To keep everyone’s fingers off their babies during meals, Phone Stack is the game to play. I have yet to try this method as my circle of friends is considerate enough not to touch theirs unnecessarily; we’d talk for hours without even realizing it. Good times~

Look before you snap
Do you always have your fancy camera on standby to capture every moment? Would you rather seeing through the lens than treasuring it with eyes and memory? I don’t go somewhere with the purpose of snapping as many pictures as i can. Even on holiday, i would relish the scenery first; photos often taken on the way back.

The author, Tom Chatfield, recounted his recent experiences of a gig, which “consisted almost exclusively of watching the band refracted through the tiny screens of a thousand smartphones held aloft.” Some time ago, i watched a live performance of Avril singing Here’s to never growing up and Rock N Roll on youtube, where the audience stood still, busily recording the performance. To which i was like, “Are you kidding me? There’s no way you can’t NOT sing-along or move your body to the beat at those anthemic songs!” They cheered loudly once it ended, but the artist seemed under-appreciated that way. I bet it wasn’t fun performing before such an audience.

Taste before you upload
The only time i’d take my phone out during meals is to occasionally take snapshots of the food — the fancy or palatable ones. That doesn’t happen every single time i eat, though. I also refrain from doing so when i dine out with my friends — out of courtesy as they may not appreciate it. I am not a food blogger anyway…

Kiss your phone goodnight
Yes, every electronic device has a power button, yet i don’t turn my phone off at night — lest i might forget to turn it back on in the morning until who knows when, haha. However, it allegedly disrupts sleep and mess body clock up — will consider it…

That’s not to say i’m clean-handed here. E.g., I’m basically forgoing hours of social time writing this out… and i think i may spend a little too much time on my computer. Let’s be honest– it’s addicting. Not only smartphones, but also internet and any other fancy, powerful device that keeps our mind preoccupied. The tricky part is to find the balanced proportion…

Lastly, let me end this lengthier than expected post with the following footage, in case you haven’t seen it:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OINa46HeWg8]
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