Can I have your attention please? For 5 minutes? I know it’s a big ask, but… thanks.
Now most of us have mobiles or smartphones it’s getting harder to get and hold someone’s full attention for any length of time. This is not only irritating me massively, but it’s also affecting society in a number of areas.
This is definitely affected. How many times have you been having a face to face chat with someone at work or down the pub when they suddenly check their mobile phone for the 10th time in a minute to see if they’ve got a text, e-mail or social post?
It’s also pretty demoralising if you’re presenting in a meeting and look up to see some of your audience checking their phones (hopefully this just doesn’t happen to me).
Annoying and rude, but we’re probably all guilty of it to some extent (alright, I am as well).
I read a cracking piece recently that summed this up, saying that there’s now pressure on the individuals in a conversation to be more interesting than the other person’s mobile or smartphone. If one party isn’t interested in what the other has to say they’ll soon be on their phone surfing, texting, pinging or posting.
Not concentrating on the task in hand can also be dangerous to the individual and others.
Take the example of the pilot who nearly crashed a plane because he was distracted by his phone, this car accident caused by texting at the wheel or this woman falling into a fountain because she was so engrossed in her phone (admittedly much funnier).
It might then be time to figure out when we should and shouldn’t be using our phones before we all start to hate eachother and/or hurt eachother.
Introducing new social rules might be a way of solving the social etiquette problem. This shopkeeper refuses to serve people who are on their phone. My local Post Office also seems to have followed suit.
My future mother-in-law doesn’t allow phones at the dinner table so conversations aren’t interrupted and a mate of mine mentioned that if he’s out with workmates then the rule is that the person who touches their phone first at dinner pays the bill.
All not bad ideas.
To solve the problem of safety it might be time for shock tactics or changes to the law.
Changes in UK law to stamp out texting while driving have also been mooted by the top brass at The Met.
These collective solutions are all small steps in the long journey of enabling societal norms to catch up with the behavioural changes brought about by the speed of technology development.
Let me know what you think below and whether you have any other solution ideas. I’ve lost interest to be honest as someone has just posted a hilarious comment on one of my holiday snaps.