Can we even remember what life was like before mobile technology? What a wonderful addition with instant access to information both studious and mindless; to games and voyeurism galore. I suspect most of us love the convenience and contact. However, although the Blackberry has moved on, the “Crack-berry” has not. This addiction may not result in the fetal position with chills and puke but there are potential consequences.
High on this list is the toll on relationships. Participating in engaging meetings with some participants’ offline with heads down toward the device is not exactly the ideal setting for team building. Have you tried running a meeting when someone elbows the person next to him with some spoof on the iPad screen? I know I have; it tends to be not just a little unsettling.
I must admit that the mobile technology becomes harder to resist even in the most intimate settings (abet the GEICO commercial of the girl in the middle of a marriage proposal when her phone rings and can’t resist the urge to answer). Hyperbole yes but haven’t we all witnessed such scenes in restaurant settings? Here’s a flash, it’s not just the “digital generation”. A Common Sense Digital Survey revealed that 28% of teens said their parents are addicted to their mobile devices and most wish they would spend less time so glued.
Similar studies have shown that mobile media multi-tasking has an adverse effect on our overall performance.
The greatest result defect is our inability to reason. My best thinking and visioning comes from unstructured quiet time. It is easy to lose this if every unconsumed minute is filled with instantaneous media noise. I have disciplined myself reserving the first hour each day in prayer, Bible study and coffee (okay busted! I use my iPad for Bible reading and note taking). This Spiritual dialog has provided situational awareness and mistake avoidance for me. Some of my Small Giant’s friends practice daily meditation and claim similar results. Distancing from the worldly noise allows clear thought and planning. The obvious benefit is better life decisions and overall performance.
Do you see friends making consistent bad choices and selfish behavior? Could the root cause be tethering to the devices and less clear thinking? You be the judge. In the meantime put the thing down occasionally.
READ MORE: If you like this article, you should read “The Virtual Culture Part V”
Jim Mullaney is President and CEO of Edoc Service, Inc. a “Fast 55” virtual company based in Cincinnati, Ohio.