Around 20 years ago, before the game boy was invented, I once brought to the dinning table a small portable video-game. My parents got really angry with me and did not allowed me to use it for some time, because playing video games while having dinner was supposed to be in polite, they do not allow you to pay attention to the other persons in the table.

Yesterday I was out having dinner and I saw that the majority has their cell phones out on the table. People was not talking much to each other, not paying attention to each other, they were looking with long faces at their cell phone. At some point the cell phone vibrates or makes a small sound and they really fast take it, read something, smile, sometimes they show it to the persons they are with, they smile. Then this person answers really fast, puts the cell phone over the table again and the long face returns.

I’ve seen the same behavior in bars, clubs and other places where people is suppose to be hanging around with friends, and also in lecture rooms, buses, trains, offices.

I guess here we all have read that most communication is non-verbal, well I guess right now here in Belgium that is completely wrong. You just need to let your cell phone home so that you can focus on what is happening around you, and you’ll see that most communication between people is happening through SMS, which are composed by words and acronyms.

I’ve never liked cell phones so I find this behavior horrible. I think many of them are completely addicted to the sms, they get 2 seconds of satisfaction while reading them, then they enter into a stand by mental state where they can’t focus on anything and just get annoyed if anything different than a new sms comes in to their way.

What is your opinion about this?
Do you think is polite, impolite or neutral to put the cell phone in the table and wait until an sms arrives?
Is this type of communication a harmful addiction?
Is it helping people to connect better with each other, is it alienating people or none?
Is this making people to be happier?

My point of view is that this new type of communication affects directly in the attention of people. Face to face communication is decreasing, eye contact is decreasing, the interest of making new connections and interacting with strangers decreases, empathy between each others decreases, human contact decreases. I believe those things are very important to achieve some type of fulfillment in live, and do not like to see them being erased little by little.
Again all these thoughts might be biased by me not liking the cell phones on the first place so I would be glad to know your opinions about it.


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