Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Ill-Served by Stupefying Phones?

 

Are we all ill-served by “smartphones” that actually stupify? Beyond the concerns about mental health (depression and anxiety, addiction) driven by social media engineered to drive constant desire for interaction, beyond worries about muscular-skeletal concerns from people hunching down into their hand-held digital devices, beyond even negative cognitive performance results, there appears to be a loss of social skills important to every brick-and-mortar business, including restaurants.

This last concern arises from observing servers and bartenders, usually at least partially compensated by tips, ignoring customers, money-making opportunities, lost in keeping up with their Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, or Twitter account. So, teens and young adults are being harmed in their job and career development, aside from all the other claimed negative effects of smartphones on teens. To the extent that Americans are putting such devices into children’s hands at a younger age than parents in other countries, they may be building in lifelong disadvantages, while being sold the line that they are actually helping their child get ahead.

How would we expect a young person to pay attention in a workplace, when they have been allowed almost unlimited screen time for years? Should we be surprised that people will not make eye contact? Consider this current commercial for the latest Samsung Galaxy:

Exactly what did the classroom look like? What is the boy’s focus? How is this a selling point to the adult who must sign the phone contract and buy this very expensive ego extension and magnifier? How does this contrast with the reported behavior of the people behind Google, Apple, and the rest of the information technology field, the parents in Silicon Valley? Would you say that this concluding paragraph in a Psychology Today article, “Screentime and Arrested Social Development,” matches your impression of the boy in the smartphone advertisement?

In short, screen-time makes children less able to tolerate disappointment and boredom, more entitled, and less willing to work — whether it be for school, at a job, or to improve a relationship. Is this really what we want for our children?

Are we, as a nation, being ill-served by stupefying phones? What sort of training and supervision, including of supervisors, do you think it would take to overcome the long conditioning to constantly have at least one eye or ear out for the next ping from the social media apps on employees’ phones?

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There are 14 comments.

  1. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    This is the third in the November series on the theme: “Service.” Do your fellow Ricochetti a small service and sign up before I have to bust out musical musings, bears, and outhouses! Y’all know I will!

    • #1
    • November 3, 2019, at 11:42 PM PST
    • 1 like
  2. TC Chef Coolidge

    I saw the Samsung commercial over the weekend and I was appalled. I did not have the urge to rush out and buy a Samsung phone. I did have an urge to find this poor child’s parents and slap someone upside the head.

    My kids grew up in the 80’s and 90’s so I did not have to deal with “all my friends have a cell phone” so I can not say how indulgent i would have been. We did set limits on video games and they all made it to responsible adulthood. I fear that the boy in the commercial illustrates a style of parenting that may not produce a confident, independent adult.

    • #2
    • November 4, 2019, at 4:13 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  3. James Gawron Thatcher

    Cliff,

    For a short time in the 1980s real thoughtful writing was going on at least in the monthly magazines. During that period computers were still being sold by local outlets and many independent stores. In these stores salespeople discussed what and how the customer wanted to accomplish with their new exciting device. By the end of the 80s all of this was gone. Computers were being sold by price & specs alone. Nobody thought for a second that it might be imprudent to buy a computer this way often online sight unseen. You wouldn’t buy a suit without trying it on and having a tailor make custom adjustments but just gimme that hardware & software at the lowest price was good enough for the most sophisticated consumer product the world had ever seen.

    I’m prefacing my remarks with the above ancient history so that we can realize just how deeply we have drank the kool-aid of the information age without proper critical review. Next, I’ll give an example of just how hopeless has been the current critical review. From the i-Phone’s inception until very recently the Wall Street Journal seemingly a bastion of good sense and quality journalists didn’t have a single negative review of an i-Phone or a truly positive review of any of its less expensive competitors. Finally this last year, one of the new young reviewers turned in a piece about a variety of good android phones at the $350 price point. Meanwhile the price of the top i-Phone had made it past the $1,000 mark. The point of the piece was that for most average users the $350 android gave as much utility and value to the user as the $1,200 i-Phone.

    I give this second example because when “the beast” is really loose and creating havoc, even just starving the beast to slow it down is useful. Of course, aside from the near lunatic implications of the AD from Samsung, one might simply ask why does a 10-year-old boy need a $1,000 smart phone. If he has one we can be sure he’ll find some use for it like listening to bad rap music in school but is this anything like the use that a responsible parent should be condoning much less financing.

    It’s too early in the morning for me to be more profound than this. However, a good analogy might be that when there is a runaway stagecoach, somebody has got to jump into the driver’s seat and pull back on the reins. My best candidate at the moment would be Josh Hawley.

    Josh had better get his boots on.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #3
    • November 4, 2019, at 7:19 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  4. KentForrester Coolidge

    Hey, we’ll do a smart phone commercial that features an overweight boy with a scowl and an angry look on his face while he struts down a school hallway to loud rap music.

    Great idea!

    • #4
    • November 4, 2019, at 10:00 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  5. Caryn Member

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    Hey, we’ll do a smart phone commercial that features an overweight boy with a scowl and an angry look on his face while he struts down a school hallway to loud rap music.

    Great idea!

    Indeed. Is that really a Samsung advert or is it from an anti-smart-phone organization. Sure looks like the latter! And I’m with them. How awfully repulsive that child is.

    • #5
    • November 4, 2019, at 11:37 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  6. Jimmy Carter Member

    Caryn (View Comment):
    How awfully repulsive that child is.

    Seriously.

    Why would You want Yer product associated with that image?

    I get the image of Parental neglect: here, take a phone, take some food, anything, just leave Me in peace. 

    Perhaps it’d be best if He were made to play outside.

     

    • #6
    • November 4, 2019, at 12:00 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  7. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    Caryn (View Comment):

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    Hey, we’ll do a smart phone commercial that features an overweight boy with a scowl and an angry look on his face while he struts down a school hallway to loud rap music.

    Great idea!

    Indeed. Is that really a Samsung advert or is it from an anti-smart-phone organization. Sure looks like the latter! And I’m with them. How awfully repulsive that child is.

    It is, sadly, quite real. Notice it is on the official Samsung YouTube channel.

    • #7
    • November 4, 2019, at 12:19 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  8. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    Jimmy Carter (View Comment):

    Perhaps it’d be best if He were made to play outside.

     

    Exactly so.

    • #8
    • November 4, 2019, at 12:48 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  9. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher

    Here I thought it was radio, I mean TV that was bad.

     

    There was a time people worried kids read books too much.

    Cant wait to see what tech in 10 years we worry about. 

     

    • #9
    • November 4, 2019, at 2:32 PM PST
    • 1 like
  10. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Here I thought it was radio, I mean TV that was bad.

     

    There was a time people worried kids read books too much.

    Cant wait to see what tech in 10 years we worry about.

     

    Of course, the way we interact with each of these technologies is quite different. We do other things while the radio provides a sound track. We stare at the television passively. We are prompted to continuously interact, seeking reaffirmation, with hand-held networked devices. 

    • #10
    • November 4, 2019, at 3:16 PM PST
    • 1 like
  11. Randy Webster Member

    TC Chef (View Comment):
    My kids grew up in the 80’s and 90’s so I did not have to deal with “all my friends have a cell phone” so I can not say how indulgent i would have been

    I know exactly how indulgent I would have been. I might have let them have a flip-phone.

    • #11
    • November 4, 2019, at 3:26 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  12. Gossamer Cat Coolidge

    Was just reading a book, “The Library” where one of the librarians quoted Albert Schweitzer: All true living is face to face. Can’t confirm that it was him, but seems quite apt for this thread.

    • #12
    • November 4, 2019, at 6:44 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  13. TBA Coolidge
    TBA

    On the one hand, being conservative means preferring stone tablets to the digital variety as a default position. 

    The more we use devices, the less we behaving as humans with each other. Which means as adults we out of practice; as children we simply don’t learn how to be human in the first place. 

    We’re getting pretty good at being trolls though. 

    • #13
    • November 4, 2019, at 9:39 PM PST
    • 1 like
  14. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Here I thought it was radio, I mean TV that was bad.

     

    There was a time people worried kids read books too much.

    Cant wait to see what tech in 10 years we worry about.

     

    Of course, the way we interact with each of these technologies is quite different. We do other things while the radio provides a sound track. We stare at the television passively. We are prompted to continuously interact, seeking reaffirmation, with hand-held networked devices.

    So the very things about TV that used to be attacked is now a positive. Being interactive is a problem?

    Just not seeing this latest thing to get upset about. 

    • #14
    • November 5, 2019, at 6:19 AM PST
    • 1 like