Smartphones, Shopping And First World Problems

Posted: January 3, 2012 in technology and the future
Tags: , , , , ,

Have you noticed how ridiculous it is that we’ve got a distracted driving law? It’s not ridiculous to want to stop people from chatting on their phones, texting, checking their emails, shaving, putting on their mascara, etc. while driving, but what is ridiculous is we’ve come so far down this road that our own government’s got to impose a law to protect us from ourselves. When did it become okay for us not to pay attention?

I can’t pinpoint exactly when it happened, but over the last few months I’ve found myself getting annoyed at the very behaviours I used to model… keeping my cell phone on the table while out for coffee with someone, live tweeting an event, checking for emails or texts or messages so periodically I couldn’t even keep track of the amount of times I would look at my iPhone in a day…

Back in November, I was out with a few of the Calgary yelpers at Craft. We had all pulled out our phones at one point or another, so I decided to impose a no phone rule for 30 minutes. If anyone so much as looked at their phones during that time, they had to buy us all dessert. Ten minutes in, guess who lost at her own game?

It’s not just our phones. It’s the fact that many of us find our self-worth at the mall, we make ourselves feel better by letting out a snarky comment instead of pointing that same finger right back at ourselves, or we find ways not to fix our own problems by dismissing them with a phrase like, “Oh, such a first world problem!” It may be a first world problem, but the fact that we then don’t follow-up with any action to correct it is a slippery slope.

It’s still way too early to tell what kind of impact this new wave of communication will have on us, we’re the ones experimenting with it. But I’ve taken my head out of the sand and I don’t think I want to stick it back in. I feel like it’s irresponsible of us to go forth with so much gusto without examining the impacts it has on our lives. Are we satisfied being friend collectors, having many surface relationships (which in turn are another great way to ensure we don’t ever have to dive too deep)? Or are we consciously finding the balance between these online connections and the deep, personal connections we ultimately need to find happiness and satisfaction in our lives? Some of us do the latter quite well. But the majority of us? Well, I think the existence of The Distracted Driving Law says it all.

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