Me & my Nokia. Santa Monica, 2007.
After being annoyed that I couldn't find that NPR story yesterday, my CrossFit (and real life ;) friend, having heard the same story, found the link and sent it my way. And I am so glad! It is a such an interesting and thought-provoking piece on how our digital devices affect our personal relationships, for better or worse. And I couldn't agree more. When was the last time you went an entire day without your smart phone or your computer or the internet? When was the last time you called someone first rather than sending a text? Honestly, I can barely remember.
You should just really read the article. But there is one thought I must share...
In our “always on” lives, there are many like Powers who worry we are too immersed in the digital world and not present enough in the real world. Observers such as digital guru Baratunde Thurston say we can’t seem to resist the lure of our smartphones, even when we are in the company of others. They are like a little Christmas present, Thurston says, “a gift where someone is telling you that you are the most important person.”
So we check our screens frequently (some say compulsively) — even when we are sitting across from someone else. And that has consequences, according to one recent study, which found the mere presence of cellphones in face-to-face conversations inhibits the development of closeness and trust, and reduces the amount of empathy we feel from our partners.
Pretty wild, right? I know that if my phone buzzes while I am playing with Alice or while making dinner or while relaxing in the evening with Lee, I start to feel anxious about checking it. Like I just must know who is texting me! Or who has commented on a photo I've recently uploaded! Or what breaking news the NY Times is alerting me to! It's terrible.
One of my new year's resolutions was to focus more on being present. Be here now! Limit multi-tasking while interacting with people (namely Alice). And I have to say, so far, I've done pretty well. Less Facebook-checking in the middle of the day. Less Instagram-uploading while playing with Alice. Less e-mail-responding as I make dinner.
Remarkably I can't say I've missed being plugged in all that much, either!
I can't believe I used to live here...