This hits home with me. My wife and I were just discussing our redditing/news feed problem earlier today (basically, we can't put our iPhones down). This has been going on for months and it's affecting our relationship. Not in a drastic negative way, but we can't even watch a movie together anymore without fcking around with our smartphones. Anyway, we're unplugging on Saturdays now. We'll see how that goes.
Don't have any self-control? I might be different than most but as I'm at my desk coding and surfing 10 hours a day the last thing I want to do fsck with a phone while I'm watching a movie. That's escape time.
In short, I decided I don't want to and therefore don't, simple as that.
Also, productivity pundits will recommend checking mail/news once or twice a day max. Any more is a waste of time.
There seems to be some irony here. Namely that "escape time" is staring at another screen.
Nothing personal here - what you do with your time and how you unwind is entirely up to you, I just thought it was worth noting this isn't entirely different physically than sitting at a desk, starting at your computer screen.
I can't stand watching people parenting like that. It's sad to see the rejection. To be honest I was a victim of such things back in the day and it did a lot of damage for years. I was always second to whichever current affairs program was on television.
I decided to do things different with my kids, and after all, one of the reasons I had kids was to have someone to play with :)
There is very little technology required to amuse and/or educate children. Some imagination, a pencil and some paper is literally hours of fun to be had. The crucial bit is time, which you absolutely must make at the right time.
I downgraded to a basic phone around 4 weeks ago, and am very happy with my decision. If I find it really necessary to look something up or answer an email while at the dinner table, I make the trek up my stairs to do so. I didn't realize quite how often I was on my phone checking texts/emails/facebook. If I didn't feel a buzz for a couple of minutes, I found myself checking my pocket to make sure my phone was still there. Now I can leave my phone upstairs or on the counter without thinking twice. My wife is now considering the change herself. Now that I'm not on it so much, she finds herself being the one distracted from our conversations and doesn't like it.
To be honest, I only got my first 'in my hand all the time' smartphone at the end of last year.
The only positive use for it so far has been to check bus times when out (TfL.gov.uk) and read the odd pdf. The latter has just been replaced by an e-reader thanks to my wife so time for the phone to go?
My friend Julie coaches girls soccer (5-7 year olds). Parents go to the game but sometimes "aren't there". She has resorted sometimes to verbally prompting (play-by-play almost) the parents of each kid/player (e.g. "Go, Hanna! Good cross") to get the parents to look up from their smartphones and watch their own kids.
Smartphones are the ringing bell (Pavlov) embodied.
This hit really close to home for me. Two years ago I had a nearly falling out with my partner because she claimed I wasn't listening to her enough (I was, it was a yum cha place, and I was busy reading reddit on my phone).
I introspected a bit and decided to change my lifestyle. I would let technology adapt around me, instead of me adapting my lifestyle/life choices around technology. Although I must say this one is a two way street - I cannot live without my smart phone.
Now, we have rules: When having personal one-on-one time with other people, no mobiles allowed. We still suck with crowds so, mobiles still come out in crowds like parties.
Personally I think this has got to do with our brains and our information diet. We're being constantly drip fed information that is being pushed to us. I feel sometimes that pulling information, with limits (HN's procrastination feature is great). Heck I even wrote a write up on this: http://theslowweb.com, and tried to get a movement going.
Check out Kevin Kelly's great book, “What Technology Wants”.
He really got to know some Amish communities and has some fascinating thoughts on how their approach to technology is a good role model. He adds the twist that many of us should be early adopters to try every new technology, but put it through the same, “How does this benefit us?” questioning that the Amish do.
I love this, this totally demonstrates the hypocrisy of any church. Even the most dedicated cheat when they know they can't be caught.
Smartphones change everything, they are like the wheel. For the first time in human history, we (nearly) all have what Bill Gates said, All the world's "Information at Your Fingertips" - literally. Since humans are pack animals, anything that strengthens the herd will prevail over every other human need.
If there is any truth to the idea of the technological singularity, then I imagine we'll all become luddites to some degree eventually. I can't imagine keeping up with frequent disruptive technological change indefinitely.
I think the level of disruption will have to be matched with the level of benefit, both measured subjectively. Most of the changes that people are describing here are different, but not objectively worse. You have a choice in how you relate to the world and how much technology you want to put between yourself and everyone else.
There is, and will continue to be, a huge market for wrapping new technology in familiar clothes. If you can make a revolutionary product, good for you, but making an old product revolutionary again is much better.
I definitely noticed the distracting nature other comments have mentioned of having a constantly available Internet connection today. I saw that FX was showing "Monsters vs. Aliens" late last night. I had not seen it, so DVRed it. I started watching this evening.
Early in the movie, a character is excited about the chance for an anchorman job at a Fresno TV station. His fiancée says she thinks Fresno is a top 50 market. He tells her it is #55.
It took a tremendous act of will on my part to not hit pause and grab my iPad to check to see if they got Fresno's rank right.
I do not know if it original (if it is you heard it here first) but I remember seeing two young (German) kids at breakfast in a Piccadilly cafe waiting for their parents
Sitting next to them to get off their phones and talk to their own children
At that moment this phrase popped into my mind and has stuck there ever since