That’s why it is important for all of us to think about how we use it, and I suspect most of us could reduce stress levels and be happier if we didn’t use on our gadgets as often as we do.
I’m mainly talking about communication tools like phones and computers, but even things like cars and exercise machines can be over-used.
There are a lot of people out there who drive everywhere… even to the gym where they pay to exercise, instead of walking or riding a bike once in a while.
When I got my first job as a journalist, I wrote articles on a manual typewriter.
There was no delete button and I couldn’t highlight bits of my work and then move them to new locations with cut and paste options.
When I made a mistake or wanted to move things around, I had to start over on a new sheet of paper or cut up my story with a pair of scissors and then put it back together the way I wanted it using a jar of paste.
Then, when I bought a guesthouse, I needed to be near a landline all the time to take bookings and be available for my guests.
Computers and cell phones have definitelyimproved my life and given me time to do other more enjoyable things, so I am certainly not complaining about having them.
But like cars, I think they are commonly over used.
As a matter of fact, I think they often hinder communication instead of aiding it.
We see groups of people or couples sitting together in social situations but not talking to each other because some, or all, of them are absorbed in virtual lives on their phones.
We also see parents doing the same thing when they are with their children.
I think we send out unkind messages to the people we are with when we do those things and I am particularly worried about those kids.
They are missing out on important interaction with their parents so they may well grow up with poor face-to-face communication skills and low self-esteem.
The message is their parents’ phones are more important than they are.
Oddly, another thing that bothers me about cell phones is that quite often I don’t think they are used enough… as phones that is.
Instead of calling someone and having a conversation, many people today prefer to trade text messages.
That often leads to a great deal of mis-communication and confusion.
Am I being a bit harsh?
Maybe I am. After all, if we don’t pay attention to what is being said during our phone conversations, the same thing can happen:
Two hunters are in the bush when one of them collapses. He doesn’t seem to be breathing and his eyes are glazed. His buddy takes out his phone and calls a doctor.
“I think my friend is dead! What can I do?”
The doctor says, “Calm down. I can help. First, let’s make sure he’s dead.”
There is a silence, then a gun-shot is heard.
Back on the phone, the guy says “OK, now what?”