Smart Phones and Community

Tech Tuesday 1

I have decided, for purely alliterative reasons, that my Tuesady posts to this blog will be tech related.  Here is my first:

One day last summer we took a youth to Schlotzkys for an afternoon treat.  The four of us sat together, enjoying our drinks, desserts, etc.  After a few minutes, though, I noticed that the other three had their cell phones out and were each engrossed in something.

I, on the other hand, was too polite to have my smart phone out in company, so I was disgusted.  ACTUALLY, my phone’s battery was too low for me to use it, so I sat there, with three other people, yet all alone.

I work in youth ministry.  I have been in youth ministry long enough now that I sometimes catch myself stereotyping problems that “youth these days” have that we didn’t have when I was a youth.  It is far too easy, then, to condescendingly lash out at “them” for such behaviors.

I was the oldest person in our group, by almost 20 years.

Sometime in the last year, Rachel and I went to a movie, and as we found our seats, I noticed that there were only two other people in the theater.  This other couple was sitting a few rows in front of us.  Both of them had their smartphones out, text, or googling, or doing whatever it is we do with our smartphones that makes us horrible converstaion partners with those actually in our presence.  I quickly hoped this couple would put their phones away before the movie started.  They did.

This couple was in their 60s.

The lure of texting and the internet on a device that easily fits in a pocket or purse does nto tempt only the young.  It is something that many, perhaps most of us face.  It is also something that is not best dealt with by wishing for yesteryear when we didn’t have these devices.

The pervasive presence of cell phones, particularly smart phones, is something that must be dealt with usnig discipline.

Discipline is best when it begins with self discipline.  In other words, my (or your) barking at a kid to put away his or her cell phone is far more effective when we show a willingness to put our own phones away, too.

Therefore, in the interest of community, civility, and the reclaiming of face-to-face interaction, I want to invite you all to join me in this simple rule.  It is a rule that Rachel and I have put into practice for a few months now.

During meals with at least one other person, our cell phones will be put away.

This is simple, but it is not easy.

Would you join me (us)?

4 thoughts on “Smart Phones and Community

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