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Cutting the Cordless Cord

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Cutting the Cordless Cord

The family joke was me training to have a cell phone by carrying a block of wood. I now have a “smart” phone prompting a friend to reach out and touch me with, “Welcome to the dark side …” I thought he was being clever, but soon realized that the quip is truth.

I had willingly, but unknowingly, entered the web of connectedness. I am mobile, I am instantly available, and I am in touch with my inner and outer clouds. If René Descartes lived today, he would say, “Iphono Ergo Sum” (“I phone, therefore I am).

I can reach anybody any time and the reverse is true. In fact, that transportability of connectedness creates the false impression that we have to be connected all the time. Maybe, it’s already time to rethink this.

There is enough dependency on our cell phones now to invert our social priorities and divert our attention from face-to-face contact. For example, we check the text screen even as we are meeting real people. The phone, text, or e-mail comes first. We act in ways that are sometimes rude, thoughtless, and even stupid. Yet these behaviors are no longer recognized as bad, because people defer to the importance of being connected all the time.

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Perhaps we need a refresher on the appropriate times to use these wonderful tools. Here are some examples:

– Turn the phone off when driving, even for short distances or when doing errands. Residential streets where children play need your attention more than a caller.

– On long trips, only make calls at rest stops or when fueling.

– Don’t text while having a face-to-face conversation with someone.

– Avoid interrupting a conversation to answer a cell phone call.

– Turn your cell phone off in movie theaters concerts, weddings, funerals, meetings, etc.

– If you must take a call in public, talk quietly. Nobody else is interested in your conversation.

– Don’t keep talking on the phone in checkout lines or elevators.

– Value the time you have with your young children; when you are with them, be with them, not on the phone.

– Mandate cell-free hours for teenagers. If they violate the rule, make them share the message with everybody.

– In a similar manner, turn the phone off on weekends or set aside hours when you will not take calls. If you think you will be unable to do that, then you need to take a phone-free vacation.

– Remember that texting and e-mail are forever. If you wouldn’t show it to everybody as a memo, then don’t send it as a text or e-mail.

– Like it or not, a person’s resumé now includes all tweets and Facebook postings.

– Learn to practice silence.

– Being active in a social network is not the same as being able to interact socially. Help your kids learn to look adults in the eye when they speak to them.

Read the rest of this story in the 2013 Farmers’ Almanac!

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1 Janelle Lear { 10.14.12 at 1:25 pm }

My first phone was just that, a phone and rarely texted. Now I have a SmartPhone and while it is wonderfully convenient I feel like I’m married to the darn thing. My friends know not to text me since it is much nicer to hear a voice and I don’t use all the apps because I ran over my minutes a few times and won’t pay for more data service. Cell phones are expensive to keep. It is just as easy to write something down in a small notebook as to have it stored on my phone. Now I’m considering dumping the SmartPhone and going back to just a phone. Also I disagree with the NTSB’s ban on hands free talking when driving…that is like saying you shouldn’t be talking to the person sitting next to you when driving…kind of dumb in my opinion.

2 Dan { 08.31.12 at 2:27 pm }

Rebecca. In response to your gs station commnet I do agree that there are signs at gas stations but there is no evidence to support the cell phone will cause an explosion. Its more likely static electricity from clothing and not grounding your self when you leave the car that would be the likely culprit. Other wise good article and great points.

3 Silverchords { 08.29.12 at 11:28 am }

Mr. Morris, I most heartily agree with everything you wrote, except one very important point. Many gas stations in California have clearly visible signs that instruct people to either turn off or to not use cellular phones while refueling. Why? Because of the grim possibility of the fumes and the person suddenly bursting into flames! It is true and it is horrifying! Many people ignore these signs because they think it won’t happen to them. I’ve even caught people (some mindlessly and some not) lighting cigarretes at the pump and have had to tell them to put it out immediately. Please research this for yorself and help to spread the word that can save peoples’ lives: NO CELL PHONE USE AT THE PUMP! Thank you, Rebeca

4 Colt { 08.27.12 at 8:54 am }

Here here! Great job, now how about go camping or take a vacation and leave all technology AT HOME! See if you can do it.

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