There is a new plague in modern times that is causing everyone around us to be superficial, disrespectful, disengaged, dangerous on the roadways, and distracted from what is going on around them: Cell phones. Cell phones are no longer just a phone; they are miniature computers that we carry around with us all day. The capabilities that they have for talking to others, browsing the internet, and playing games keeps us fixated on the screen around the clock. Just like our parents used to regulate the amount of TV we watched when we were younger, we owe it to ourselves to manage our time and attention to being on our phones.
Turn off any notifications that you feel are not important or necessary. Smart phones love to connect you to every person and application that exists on your phone. For most of us this means over one hundred people and a large list of games and social networking sites. If every time you receive an email, get a friend request on Facebook, or get an update your phone alerts you then it will never keep quiet. You might as well keep it hanging right in front of your face all day because the alerts will never stop! Go into your phones settings and deactivate as many notification options as possible, if you really need to check on something do it of your own accord.
Regulate the time you spend on your phone performing these various activities. You should not only regulate the amount of time but also when you choose to be on your phone. The workplace and in the presence of friends and family are cases when you should have your phone put away so you can fully engage in the people around you. Too many times have I seen an entire table of people at a restaurant not talking to one another, but instead they on their phones. Put them away and make set times during the day to pull them out, not while you are spending time with other people or in the office working.
Silence your phone from always ringing and buzzing when something happens. Aside from de-activing alerts, put your phone on silent. Smart phones have many features that will enable it to makes sounds when things occur. This is a constant reminder to you to pick it up and take a look at what it happening. It may be out of sheer curiosity, and you decide to pick it up when all it was doing was updating an application. Now it has you hooked, it’s in your hands and the internet is at your finger tips. The reason you picked it up in the first place was because you heard an audio clip or ring tone. Limit the amount of audio features on your phone to keep it silent and at your side.
Use your phone for just that, a phone. Smart phones are really just small computers that enable us to do just about anything that you could on a larger desktop PC. With all of these features in your pocket, it makes it easy to want to pick it up and start playing. If you want to play games, use the internet, or check sports scores, do it on a computer with time set aside. Try limiting your phone use by deleting unnecessary applications or turning off some of its features.
One final way you can limit your cell phone use is by choosing to make a phone call instead of trying to convey your thoughts in long drawn out text messages. Texting has become another issue on its own. We are always texting each other about what is going on in our lives even if it’s just an update on what we ate for lunch. If you feel the need to talk to someone give them a phone call instead of typing long text messages. You shouldn’t feel the need to be in constant contact with people every second of the day. Tune into what’s going on around you and use a phone when you need to, not as a way to pass the time.
- License: Creative Commons image source
This article was written by Nick Quinlain, a software engineer with over five years experience developing cell phone applications. When he finds himself needing to send a fax, he recommends http://findafax.com to find a high-tech way of dealing with low tech communication. You can find more about him at his Google+.