“Hey I am talking to you!” he said with his voice filled with frustration bordering on anger.
“I’m sori wat did u say?” suddenly brought back to reality. My plate still rattling from when he banged the table with his fists.
“Can you just put that thing down for five minutes!!?”
“Wat? U mean my phone?”
“Yes, your phone!”
“But y? I am chatting to Joey.”
“Because you are at the dinner table and I am trying to talk to you.”
“Ah c’mon dad…K, fine one sec.” I type on my phone, “Hey Joey, g2g dad want me 2 put my phone dwn, TTYL 😦 ” I then place my phone on the table.
“So y am I not allowed on my phone?”
“Eric, I think you are on that phone way too much. You’re living your life on a 4 inch screen instead of here in reality.”
“LOLz, Dad u can’t be serious? I am right here eating supper wid u. How am I not in reality?”
“Eric listen to how you are speaking. You just said ‘lolz’ instead of actually laughing. You are speaking in shorthand!”
My phone vibrates. I glance at the screen as it lights up with a notification. I move to pick it up, who could it be? “Dad it is just slang I…
“Don’t you dare pick up that phone!! We haven’t finished talking.”
I freeze. Leaving the phone alone. The notification unread. Who could it be? “Soz dad. But I can talk and chat, multitasking u kno?”
“No, Eric you can’t, all that means is that you are not paying full attention to what is happening around you.”
My phone vibrates again. Another notification. I want to look, I want to know what is going on. “I really don’t think I am that bad dad, I’m being social that all. Not living my life through this screen like you said.”
It vibrates again. I am missing out on something. “No, you’re being unsocial to those around you. You are so integrated with your phone and the social media on it Eric, that you are replacing face to face interaction with typing and scrolling on your phone.”
“That aint true dad, give me a example of how I am doing that”
“Eric, just before I started talking to you about this. You sent a message to my phone saying ‘Pass the salt. Tx’
The above dialogue is a picture of what I imagine is at dinner table all over the world. Sure it might not look exactly like this but I think this is close to reality. Just look around you, in your own home, your own dinner table. The next time you go out to the mall or out for dinner anywhere. Everywhere. These small glowing devices known as cellphones are being used by people all around us 24/7. These small smart glowing instruments of distraction. Constantly beeping, constantly demanding our attention. Now don’t get me wrong, I like my phone. The tiny android powered device is very helpful! But I think we need to be aware of this growing trend in modern culture and how it is impacting us. We are living our lives more and more online, we are using our phones for a dozen things. More and more we are speaking through instant messages, we are sharing pictures and videos all the time and we are constantly connected to our friends and our friends to us! As a result our command of English and any other languages is eroding, slang, shorthand and auto-correct is making us lazy in our spelling and speech. Social networks have stopped us being social with those around us, as we stare at our phones to interact. Taking selfies, this new trend of taking photos of your self to post on to some image sharing site is taking over!
We begin to think ‘I’ve got to share that’ whenever we see or experience something of interest. In my opinion these are all dangerous realities and it is up to us to guard ourselves from being sucked into our phones completely. Christian, stop texting so much and get into the text! Stop facebook-ing so much and get your face in the book! Engage your minds, engage others! Don’t be a phone Zombie! Live life in light of eternity and not on a 4″ screen.
P.S My one phone has beeped about 18 times while I wrote this.