Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Prehistoric Phones are Cool

OK, maybe not cool, but they are intellectual. 

My ancient Morola Razr may not have many bells and whistles, the battery has increasingly shorter life time, and texting is a pain, but I will only give it up under duress.
These guys are sans Smartphone, all for pretty much the same reason: they don't trust themselves with it around. These chirpy devices make it so easy to tune other human beings out, to ignore to-do lists, to let personal discipline take a hit for the worst. 
Smartphones are especially pernicious because they “increase the ease of access to the Internet far beyond anything we’ve had with laptops,” Mr. Carr said in an interview over his land line (he also owns a dumbphone, as do the other family members). “You see a similar type of compulsive behavior” to computer-assisted Web surfing, “but it can go on continuously from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep.
If anyone questions a personal decision to go technologically dinosaur, feel free to sniff condescendingly using the insights of Jonathan Safran Foer.
Jonathan Safran Foer, who jettisoned his smartphone after reading “The Shallows” and “finding myself checking my phone while giving my kids a bath . . . It can be nice to stay in touch, but smartphones necessarily redefine ‘being in touch’ to mean something that has almost no value. (What was I checking for? Tossed-off e-mails from people I barely know.)”
Has Mr. Foer noticed a change in his attentiveness when writing? “Without a doubt and dramatically,” he wrote.
And would he allow those children he bathes, if they were of smartphone-owning age, to have one? A resounding no. 
Take doctors, for instance. They are not immune from the tantalizing distraction that smartphones provide. A tad frightening, I would think. 
Moreover, in a field often entailing meetings with patients and families about serious illness or end-of-life issues, Dr. Epstein has observed how smartphones can endanger bedside manner. “I’ve occasionally seen younger doctors surreptitiously checking their smartphones, hopefully for work purposes, during those meetings,” he said. 
I would want my doctor's full attention!
Jim Harig, 24 . . . bought his waterproof and shockproof Casio flip phone four years ago . . . Like Dr. Epstein, he holds particular scorn for Angry Birds, which he played once on his fiancée’s phone. “I felt like I lost a half-hour of my life,” Mr. Harig said. “I said, ‘Never again, just take this away from me.’ ” And he also appreciates maintaining the distinct spheres of office and home. “It’s nice to disconnect myself once I shut my computer down at the end of the week,” he said. 
I least I can say that my trend of avoiding apps was written up in the fashion section. 


Sparrow said...

Well, I'm glad of the better texting, but I've turned off the internet on my phone for this reason.
Kudos on avoiding apps.
Do you think that there's any research on the effects of all these distractions on the adult brain?

Princess Lea said...

I can't say, since it will be said there isn't yet enough data to have conclusions. But a distracted brain can't be a thinking brain.

corti said...

A little unrelated but in the spirit of lamenting the phones of yore, I saw a picture on facebook of an old Nokia candybar phone alongside an iphone. The caption under the iphone: "Falls on the floor- screen breaks"... and under the nokia: "Falls on the floor- floor breaks"

I thought that was hysterical ;) Loved my candybar. Now I have an overrated android.

Princess Lea said...

My father keeps tempting me. "I'll get you a Droid." "I don't WANT a Droid!" "But I'm offering you a Droid!"


Laura said...

I loved this post. I have an old samsung flip phone and agree that smart phones are extremely distracting. Cell phones in general, though, can be a distraction. I was in the supermarket behind someone furiously texting as she was being checked out. Totally ignoring the checkout person, who was not a little offended as I found out when she checked me out. We need to be tuned in to the people in front of us.
My computer is a distraction for the same reason. I think the issue is setting boundaries and sticking to them more than the device itself.

Princess Lea said...

I definitely agree. I won't give the technology too much credit, because in the end it is up to us to control ourselves.

I make a point to misplace my phone often.