Monday, September 30, 2013

Messages you don't know your Smartphone is Sending

Messages you don't know your Smartphone is Sending

Last night I took a loved one to a restaurant for her birthday. As I walked across the dining area, I noticed all the other tables and the diners seated at them.  As I passed through on the way to my table, it caught my attention that alongside every place setting, I found either a cellphone or an iPad. Every place setting.

As I looked at the zombie-like faces illuminated by the screens of their portable devices, instead of from the stimulation of sitting across from or next to people that they cared for, several thoughts came to mind:

What would my dinner companion think of me if I had my iPhone on the table in clear view? How would she feel if I picked up my iPhone during dinner to use it?  Would she feel that her birthday or her company were less important that an incoming email? A text message? A Facebook notification?  Would she think that I would have rather been somewhere else? With someone else?

At the table adjacent to mine sat a mother and her two college-aged sons. Much to my surprise and assumption, it was the mother using her iPad throughout their brief meal together. She sat on the opposite side of the table of her sons with her body turned to the left, her feet upon the empty seat to her side. During most of their meal, she used her iPad. She made little conversation and even less eye contact. At one point, her son took her iPad away from her, jokingly. However, his mother didn't appear to find the humor in his gesture or quite possibly a blatant objection depending on his true intention. Instead she made a remark alluding to the idea that being in college didn't exempt him from being grounded. He returned the iPad promptly.

While there is no escaping the fact that mobile phones and similar devices are here to stay, when we use them in the presence of others, what messages are we really sending?

I hope you enjoyed this blog!  Please feel free to leave a comment or message me with any feedback you may have.

Warm regards,

Lisa Matus, LCSW

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