Disconnected in the Connected Age?

Courtesy of cooldesign at freedigitalphotos.net
Courtesy of cooldesign at freedigitalphotos.net

Let me get one thing on the plate to start with; I am a technology geek and I really enjoy technology however on today, the 40th anniversary of the cell phone, I find that we are using the cell phone to hide in plain sight.  There is a real danger that future generations will not know how to communicate and connect in a human way.

More and more I see people of all ages sitting in restaurants staring at their smart phones rather than conversing.  When the do converse it is a very shallow conversation that has little relevancy to their relationship.  We need to have at least one day per week to disconnect from our toys.

Technology can be a blessing, especially in times of emergencies.  Smart phones do allow a person to have access to tons of information in a relatively quick manner, depending on location and available services. However, there are also indications that these same tools can be responsible for a tremendous amount of distraction, trigger boredom or in extreme cased cause accidents.  Ultimately the technology is not to blame but rather the owner of the technology is the source of the positive or negative impacts on their lives.

As of 2012 87% of the US population had cell phones in their possession, 45% of those were Smart Phones based on a study by Pew International.  With this level of saturation are we becoming addicted to the features to the detriment of our families and employers?  How many times have you texted while driving?  Of course we answer never; however with 2.3 trillion texts being typed last year, the evidence is tough to argue against.  There are only 525,600 seconds in a year, that’s more than 4 million texts per second.  Wow, I can’t believe that I am the only one astounded by that number.

We need to spend less time with our Smart Phones and more time in face to face conversations.  Many kids today have a difficult time trying to have a conversation with parents or others. If we can’t have a face to face then at least have a phone conversation, don’t rely on texts when trying to have an intelligent conversation. It may seem counterproductive but I truly believe we can become more productive if we learn to control our cyber communications, not necessarily eliminate them.  How often have you taken time to be alone and think creatively, be proactive in developing your personal influence or focused on resolving issues in your business versus responding with a knee jerk, short term solution?

Think about how you use your technology today, starting with your Smart Phone.  Take a breather by shutting the device off and taking the headset off.  Take time to listen to your wife, your kids, your boss or heaven forbid your customers.