When the Phone Rules All (video)

Monday, August 26, 2013 - 8:30am

When the Phone Rules All (video)

by Trent Gilliss (@TrentGilliss),  Executive Editor / Chief Content Officer

This video is funny... only because it's true. I'm watching this and thinking of Sherry Turkle's observation that adults are much more susceptible to technology's lure than children today:

"I believe that there are some places that, in the car, it's reasonable to say, 'Hey, I'm going back to my friends. I want to tell them I'm coming.' Every place you are with your children, you can't say is a sacred space. That doesn't fly. But I think that, for families as they grow up, I do feel strongly about this because really this dinner table thing has been such a theme in my research, such a theme as teenagers look back on their lives and what they miss. It's teenagers who say, 'My parents text at the dinner table.'

There's a story in my book: This young man has a mother who is a gourmet cook. So her pleasure is in making these long, long, many-course meals and that's how she shows her love for her family. And she's married to a kind of master of the universe, kind of Wall Street-type guy, and he's on his BlackBerry all through dinner. And their son starts to try to negotiate with the mother: Could she prepare shorter meals so that then maybe the father would put away the BlackBerry? But he's not going to do it if it's a four-course meal. But maybe he would do it if it was basically just soup and salad, or maybe he would do it if it was just salad and a grilled steak. You know, you see a teenager trying to negotiate some way to get this BlackBerry out of the dinner table, and it's touching."

Share Post

Shortened URL

Contributor

Trent Gilliss is executive editor of On Being and chief content officer of Krista Tippett Public Productions. He received a Peabody Award in 2007 for his work on "The Ecstatic Faith of Rumi" and garnered two Webby Awards (in 2005, and again in 2008). The Online News Association nominated his journalistic work multiple times in the general excellence and outstanding specialty journalism categories. Trent's reported and produced stories from Turkey to rural Alabama, from Israel and the West Bank to Cambridge, England.

Share Your Reflection

Filtered HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd><span><div><img><!-->
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Embed content by wrapping a supported URL in [embed] … [/embed].

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Reflections

I had the same thing happen 30 years ago when everyone had a camcorder at my baby's baptism. I thought no one was really there.

There have been times when I've avoided taking pictures at important events, for wanting to just BE there instead. What's more important, to have a souvenir later, or to be fully present in that moment?
Maybe this will seem extremely odd for me not to have had a camera, but one of those moments was the birth of my children (who are now about five weeks old). At the time it just didn't occur to me to have a camera. Looking back, I'm glad I wasn't fiddling with a gadget - I can remember it better in my head right now, than if I had a device as intermediary for memory. I feel, even if I can't perfectly remember it later, I was there, in that moment, experiencing it directly, with my family. That's better than having an artificial copy through a tiny rectangular window, and needing that as a surrogate to experience the moment

IMHO. One does not have to take a picture (one picture) at the top of the evening in order to remember it later. Now you can not feel the joy of that memory, but when you brain ceeases to recall events of last week, you will certainly enjoy remember that party long ago. A party that has been completely forgotten until that little photo finds it.

Yeah, I agree, also that birth picture thing is really questionable, boundary-wise! I had twins and a singleton before that and no birth pictures but pictures soon after and through the amazing 1s and 2s and 3s. It has to work with your life, this picture taking. Better to be there in real time. In the video, the bowler who hits it big and finds out NO ONE noticed was hilarious!

And your point is...?

they are saying to be present in the moment is a better choice

The problem of people refusing to be present in social interactions has been around for all my 50 years. In school we would daydream, in relationships we would play poker while our wives read romance novels. Even during the poker games we told funny stories of things that happened once before while our wives fantasized about marrying men who didn't play poker. I noticed 20 years before the "smart phone" was invented that some people can be looking you in they eye and pretending to be listening but at the same time be somewhere else. If you love your life you will show up for it. You will want to smell the smells and soak in the colors and movement around you. I do love my life but I also use technology. I just told a woman I haven't seen in 2 years and who I may never see again, how special she was to a local charity event. I wouldn't have made that little connection without social media. Overall, technology is still serving to keep me connected to others. Look at me now, I am sharing my thoughts with people who have the shared experience of watching this brief video and whom I will never meet. Now it is time to turn off this machine and enjoy a high definition full color versiopn of by beautiful back yard. Cheers

I agree very much with David. We all love new technology, but knowing how to use it to make our lives better is the key! In the '70's I lived in the Caribbean and did scuba as a hobby. I became interested in underwater photography until one day on a beautiful dive, I realized I was missing the dive as I worked to get some great shots - I quit underwater photography - but many people still do that today.

Sorry to say that this makes me sad. Is it ironic that I watched the this on my phone...??
I do try to avoid using my phone when I'm spending time with people. It bugs the heck out of me when my wife uses her phone when we're spending time together.

The back lights in the older phones are CFL and have mercury vapor in them. Best for you and your house not to do this.

Just wait till technologies like Google Glass become ubiquitous. This video will not be an exaggeration....

I got it! I never lost it. but I'm feeling so alone because I'm a technophobe and refuse to become a slave to the machine.
Eye contact is to intimate.......and food for the soul. Everyone's "connected" but sadder than ever. What good is having 1000 fb acquaintances but few friends?

Please, this stuff is so old. Back in the day it was radio, people listened and did not talk, then TV, then video games, then the computer, now its the phone. One last thing, when teachers gave the kids a slate, they thought the same thing. We are OK, we're evolving. I wish journalism would do the same, instead of being boring.

I'm not sure exactly how this piece of journalism is boring. It's challenging us to consider a very real issue in society. And, yes, we may be evolving, but is it for the better or worse?! We can control what controls us. Science has proven that being constantly plugged into your device is highly addicting. I don't know about you but I rather be my own master than have some little device that I have to constantly be checking. I work in a library and I can't tell how many times I see kids trying to engage their adults in creative play and all the dismissive parents or nannies want to do is check their latest Facebook feed! Ugh! Sad.....

Dear Friend - it's not the same. If you've done any research in regard to human communication you would know that; much of communication is non-verbal. We are too far out of touch with one another. To not see a face or hear a voice all day long... that's a form of starvation. We need intimacy. I'm not referring to romance so please, don't get me wrong. Just hearing a voice over the phone. Even that is so much better than texting an entire conversation.

This was described as humorous or funny...all it made me want to do is cry!

As a commercial and news paper photographer I live my life in pictures. On my time. I just chill and soak it in. If someone (usually my mother-in-law) asks me to take pictures of something, I jokingly say, "I'm off-duty" or, "That'll be 350-bucks!" Then someone else takes the picture because I just made a sardonic comment. Freeeeedom... I'm getting off the computer now to hug my kids.

Such is human nature. The difference today is blame is simplistic and unified: it's that dad burn smartphone! The old skool distractions and escapes of daydreaming, book reading, doodling, dosing off, drugs or staring out the window while in the company of boring folk was no less prevalent. Nevertheless I dislike smartphone photography--not because of lost moments or social disconnection, we've been doing that since the dawn of time--but because smartphones have lowered visual standards and cheapened the art of photography.

The most funny about all this, is how paradoxal this video is... As it has been probably made vis an Iphone... ^^

Wow lots of people in here justifying their lives where they are clearly addicted to their phones. If people think daydreaming is equivalent to staring at your phone in social situations you have a bigger problem than you realize.

Add:

Written by/Starring Charlene deGuzman
Directed by Miles Crawford

Im a product designer from Stockholm, and I wrote my thesis on this subject! What I call the " One click involvement"!
My scare is that we are loosing touch with our physical identity since we are working so hard designing our online one! I came up with a quite argumentative solution, and I did this 3 min video! It's filmed in nordic Stockholm, and it aint suppose to be funny. https://vimeo.com/66715131

www.amandaames.com

What is more annoying ? You throw out a fact during conversation and say you are not too sure if it is true or you mention that you had forgotten the full title of the book you had just read...click click click everyone's gadget is out and in a second the answers are shouted out triumphantly ! Did I really want to be accurate? When a guest enters my home I would love to have them turn in cell phones, Ipads, Blackberrys, and place them on a tray. And we could then learn to savor our own brand of humor, wit, information and laughter.

These thoughts and fragments come to mind after watching this.

The commentator above got it right when he said people have been using technology to tune out for a long time.

What if what is there in the outer world is less meaningful than what you find in your own thoughts? I try to be there for life, but find that I tune out simply by going off someplace in my head when the outer world is less than engaging. I did it as a school boy, I do it now when bored, especially in group settings where I can't easily escape, but can be inconspicuous. Face to face with another I try to stay attentive, but will excuse myself when the talking is meaningless chatter, meant only to fill the silence that some find so uncomfortable. When I find something or someone interesting or meaningful, nothing can pull my attention away.

The thing about the phones and personal devices is that people's lack of attention to the moment is so apparent, in your face.

A story. Last month as my family and I were flying into Seattle, the plane banked around Mt. Rainier. It was a magnificent view of this beautiful, snow covered rock that filled the window. In the seat across the aisle, sat a young man busy with an ipad. His companion directed him to the mountain outside. The young man pulled out his phone, snapped a photo, and turned back to his ipad.

Technology is so ubiquitous that I suspect that many of the young generation of digital natives would see nothing funny or ironic about this video. "Yeah, so...?"

I think that's the sad point. You mentioned if you find something/someone interesting or meaningful, nothing can pull your attention away. When this video showed the woman at a gathering with friends, one on one with friends, etc, people had their eyes/head down in their phones. I don't think people give anyone a chance to be interesting or meaningful, we're so worried we'll miss something. What are we missing though? Recently I saw a family of 4 walk into a restaurant. Both kids and the dad were on their phones at the table as they walked in and sat down. Only the mom picked up the menu. I was thinking they couldn't even break their connection to read the menu? It was an odd scene. (I hope no one says that's just like people eating in front of the TV---in that case, there is a focal point there, you know you're goign to focus on the show. But around a dinner table? You're not going to interact? Why bother going to the table at all in that case?) Rhetorical questions...

It was hard for me to see the humor in this piece. The young woman is trying very hard to make contact with those who matter to her and they are, effectively, captives of their devices. Not funny; sad and cautionary.

Ditto. I agree wholeheartedly. Soul sucking technology.

Funny? It's frightening and such a SAD story. Mass isolation by keeping "connected". Open
your eyes. Smell the roses. Our souls are being eaten away on text at a time.

Only Once by Denise Levertov

All which, because it was

flame and song and granted us

joy, we thought we'd do, be, revisit,
turns out to have been what it was
that once, only; every initiation

did not begin

a series, a build-up: the marvelous
did happen in our lives, our stories
are not drab with its absence: but don't
expect now to return for more. Whatever more
there will be will be

unique as those were unique. Try

to acknowledge the next

song in its body-halo of flames as utterly

present, as now or never.

I feel like my husband is not "present" in our marriage because he always does this - and I mean ALWAYS.

This videos captures the reality of modern communication. If you can't beat them...

This is really depressing. What will the long term affects of this disconnection be?

This video is very realistic, phones made us connected but in someway detached. However, there lots of good things that a cellphone can do, like me, I always bring a satellite phone whenever I go out because business demands it.

So true, but a little bit exaggerating. I know it is intended. Because for now, few people are doing that, and I hope that will stay like that!

This was described as humorous or funny...all it made me want to do is cry! :/

apples