If I were to make a bet on how you’re reading this article, I would bet you’re on your phone. Wait, don’t put it away just yet. Unless your kids are around. Then by all means, bookmark this article and come back to it when they’re sleeping.
If you laughed at that, good. I was trying to find humor in what is a very serious topic. The truth is, our phones are tearing us away from making any sort of real connection with other individuals throughout many times in our lives. It’s one thing to take your phone out while waiting for the subway, but it’s another to be so attached to it that you miss out on the big things in life. Even missing out on the little things adds up over time.
Ogilvy & Mather China has put together an advertising campaign titled “Phone Wall” which visualizes the symbolic barriers we put up in our lives when we become too connected to the Internet and our phones.
Is that an explosion on the father’s screen? Is he watching YouTube? What could possibly be so entertaining that it’s worth missing out on the project his son is working on? While the father is busy letting a video do all the entertaining, his son is using his imagination to create his own entertainment. Of course, it’s only a matter of time before the child realizes he can sit back and let an electronic box do all the work for him, and the cycle will unfortunately continue.
This is a similar situation, but the body language exhibited by mother and daughter is in much greater contrast. The mother seems quite content browsing the web for a new pair of shoes while sipping her coffee, but the daughter definitely looks as if something’s missing in her life. Look: She has a bunch of toys and dolls to play with (and that’s just what’s in front of her), yet she seems so disillusioned that she’s ignoring the pile of stuffed animals on the ground, presumably waiting for something better to come along. Perhaps if her mother would pay some attention to her and push her imagination to its limits, the young girl would find some joy in her life.
Do these two even like each other? It’s incredibly hard to tell. The husband seems pretty bothered by the fact that his wife would rather stay up talking to her friends while laying in bed than, you know, actually pay attention to the person she presumably loves. They could, at the very least, watch videos or read together using the same phone. But even that seems like it’d be too much to ask. Sadly enough, you just know that if she were to put her phone away and actually pay attention to her husband, she’d be distracted by dings and vibrations every couple of minutes. If she’s so intent on communicating with her friends, why don’t they just all get together instead of wasting time staring at a screen?
The implications to cell phone addiction are pretty obvious. Now, let’s take a moment and realize that children as young as 8 years old are spending an average of 8 hours a day interacting with some type of electronic media. Your average teenager sends over 3,000 texts a month. You’d almost rather they pick up the house phone and tie up the line having actual conversations! In all seriousness, children spend so much time with electronics because they’ve learned that it’s okay. They’ve learned that it’s simply the way of the world. If you want your children to put down their phones and actually live, you have to do so yourself.
Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm5.staticflickr.com