My daughter never reads this column because it isn’t a podcast of science fiction that’s only available through download through some underground website in Japan.
So don’t tell her that I think that she stares at her mobile phone too much, or that she never actually uses the phone like a phone, .....
So don’t tell her that I think that she stares at her mobile phone too much, or that she never actually uses the phone like a phone, or that when my lips are moving, and I am looking at her from more than 10 feet away, and she is wearing her headphones, that I’m not really talking until she takes them off and says, invariably, “Huh?"
She’s not going to give in, and neither am I. She gets good grades, hasn’t pulled any fire alarms at the high school and – so far – has been a pretty good big sister, so I’ll cut her some slack.
As for me, I often find myself blocking my view of the real world with my iPhone. I watch TV with the phone 9 inches from my face, which means that I really listen to TV and geek out to some second-screen nonsense that doesn’t in any way enhance my life, and really agitates my dog.
I have a perfectly good laptop and secondary screen on my desk at work. I am as likely to reply to an email with my phone as the computer, even though my fingers mistype at a rate of 70 words per minute. Addictions run in the family. And I freely admit that I have a problem with my connection to connectivity.
I start to feel disassociated if I go more than an hour without an update. Not really sure that much out there matters on a minute-by-minute basis. But that doesn’t stop me.
My app routine: Twitter to ESPN SportsCenter to eBay Motors to Facebook to work email to home email to the charger, because I’ve exhausted the battery. If 15 minutes passes and I haven’t gone to check the battery-charging process, it’s because I checked it after 5 minutes.
So now comes word earlier this month from these occupational psychologists in Britain that contend too much connectedness can make you depressed and disconnected from the real world – especially if you’re a workaholic.
Oh, great, you say.
I’ve long been an advocate for working differently, but we’re still working more. There’s really no way around it. There’s no shortage of things to do.
But somewhere, in the midst of all that, there’s still time to whip out a digital communication device and check it for something meaningless. That phone has been making sounds all morning, surely one of them was truly important. Surely.
A report on the study goes on to suggest that it surveyed more than 500 people from across all walks of life – employed and unemployed – “to complete questionnaires to assess their emotional stability, workload, life satisfaction and compulsive Internet usage.”
According to the report, more than 60 percent said that they use the Internet “compulsively,” and that this was – wait for it – “linked to working excessively, even when emotional stability was taken into account,” and that “people who are feeling under pressure and overloaded at work may be using the Internet compulsively in their free time as a coping mechanism.”
Somehow, the unemployed were not as likely to get wrapped up in their phone to the same extent as the employed. I’m certain there is some psychology behind that.
The doctors that conducted the study suggested that employers shouldn’t work their employees as hard as a solution for perhaps turning this trend around. Blame the employers. They’re always sending their employees scurrying to their phones by asking them to hit their sales quotas and to put the cover sheets on their TPS reports.
With all apologies to science and Britain and studies, good luck. When the bosses are umbilically (new word, just minted it) connected to their phones because they truly believe that they need to stay on top of things and don’t want to become the unemployed part of the survey group the next time the Brits want to study such a thing, they probably are not in a position to pass that message down the line.
Then again, when I say to my wife that I can go an hour without checking my phone, it’s because I know that she’d rather see me on my phone, zoned out in la-la land, than trying to sneak in a nap on a Sunday afternoon. There’s only so much managing your mate that can be done. I will trade an hour on the grid for an hour on the couch.
So I am waiting for the British study about Sunday nap-takers and the negative effects of sleeping in the middle of the day. That’s probably a psychological no-no, too. Imagine if you nap with a phone pressed to your face. I’m sure that would be grounds for a 911 call.
And even if phone-jamming makes us withdrawn, workaholic maniacs, we’re not likely to induce people that don’t care for soccer from watching 20 consecutive minutes of Vine videos of amazing goals scored in the British Premier League, or from checking their email every 30 seconds to see if something new popped in there.
It’s too late. We’re off the hook.
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As always, stay classy.
Chris Krug is president of the progressive media communications firm No Limit Agency in Chicago. No Limit is a full-service agency whose practice focuses on strategy, brand management, creative campaigns and delivering unparalleled placement in the media. No Limit Agency works with some of the best-known brands in North America, and that’s not a coincidence. Contact Krug by calling 312-526-3996 or via email at [email protected].