Death by iPhone… Sort of…

Posted: April 17, 2015 by abestratton in Advice for the Young, Culture, Words from the Wise

Walt Mueller’s thought-provoking comments on our technology are worth a read. I’ve included an excerpt below, but you can read his entire article here.

Death by iPhone… Sort of…

OK. . . that was a dirty little trick, wasn’t it? But now that I have your attention, let’s talk about technology and what it does to us.

death by iphoneBetter yet, let’s ponder Gillian Share-Raab’s out-of-the-box thoughts on what her smartphone has done not only to her life, but to the lives of her peers. Gillian, a student at a suburban Philly high school, wrote aninteresting op-ed piece for her local paper, entitled “Why my iPhone is ruining my adolescence.” Gillian’s thoughts are out-of-the-box for the simple reason that she is thinking about what her technology is doing to her life. Most people her age. . . or anyone of any age for that matter. . . aren’t thinking about these things. I’m guessing she has no idea who Marshall McLuhanwas or what he’s famous for saying, but her thoughts put meat on the bones of McLuhan’s conviction that “first we shape our tools. . . and then our tools shape us.”

Gillian writes, “In between being awake and sleeping, I need to be on my phone checking endless social media accounts in order to keep up with every friend and acquaintance whose lives somehow ended up in my daily scrolling. . . if I were to print and lay out every inch of Instagram and Facebook I have examined, I’ll bet it would circle the planet three times. . . The smartphone exists to provide a barrier between people in order to make both parties feel more secure and comfortable, allowing each person to remain in his or her security bubble forever. . . In a time when I’m supposed to be meeting new people, having new experiences and breaking out of my shell, I feel more and more as though phones act as a virtual wall. Now, my conversations consist of dehumanized, emotionless messages used for necessity that are conducted without essential facial expressions or body language (i.e., texting). . . I often think of how different the high school experience must have been for my parents’ generation, or even just 15 years ago, when two people seated next to each other with common interests and mutual friends were able to have a civil conversation without looking down at their phones in order to avoid eye contact. . . In my experience, the only way to truly be connected with the thoughts and feelings of others is by disconnecting everything else.”

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