Poetry was replaced by the novel in the 19th century; the novel was replaced by movies in the 20th. Are the movies being replaced by the mobile in the 21st?
Source NY Times
These marvelous little inventions now allow ordinary people to hold in the palm of their hands access to an extraordinary array of entertainment, communication and information (and disinformation!). What began their lives as phones they have transformed into hand held computers and are an essential part of modern life.
Many people reading and writing articles here on Steemit will be accessing them from their mobile. There can be no doubt that the continuing development of the handheld device is changing the way we interact with the world.
Could I cope without one in this modern world?
I decided to have a break from my mobile in January/February this year. I found myself engaging with it nearly constantly, it was never far from my thoughts; and I started to wonder if that was maybe not such a good thing. I also had thoughts about whether the mobile was having a corrosive effect on family life and indeed society at large.
In short, I have had to wind the clock back to the last century. One of the first things I had to do was dig out an old watch. Now I quite like sporting a watch and understand those who continue to wear one as a fashion item. Time may be an illusion but boy do you need it to get to places when you need to be.
The second thing I had to do was sit down with pen and paper and write a letter to my best friend, (arguably a return to the 19th century?). We had a fixed appointment but unbeknownst to me she had messaged to cancel. (I'm having to check my language now, dear reader, to prevent it slipping back a couple of centuries!) I wrote to let her know of my mobile-less status and give her my landline. I realise many people don't have a landline anymore but luckily for me it's how I communicate with my elderly dad. Anyway, she called and we had a nice chat and she let me know how much she had enjoyed receiving a letter.
The next thing I noticed was the peace and quiet. No mobile beeping for my attention. Nothing requiring my immediate recognition or be at the risk of seeming rude or ignorant. Instead I picked up a book to read, the first one in ages, and I was once I admit an avid reader. Now I've got two on the go.
No Nobel prizes for observation here but on the bus there was a very clear divide on usage based on age. Buses with high numbers of elderly people were in general more chatty. My family were dismayed initially by my absence from group chats on Telegram and my children did get panicky at first about how they were going to get in touch with me. However, it turns out face to face still works as an effective communication tool lol! On the other hand it was me that found myself to be excluded. At any quiet downtime in family life they were all on their phones. I experienced what it must be like to be a young kid today.
I missed my favourite app IMDB as I'm terrible for watching something and trying to work out what it is I've seen them in before. I also missed a few texts from my doctor and pharmacist - many things have been set up to communicate with you through messaging now. I did not miss my slight (ahem) addiction to looking up newsfeeds. Instead I spent more time on my tv watching youtube. At least there I chose what I wanted to watch/consume although there are newsfeed/recommendation issues there too.
I know a lot of people use their phone for social media purposes. It's been a long time since I've done Facebook/whatsapp or Instagram and I've never done twitter. There were a few times I could have got a nice photo but heyho. However, I think on the whole the selfie and comparison culture only leads to increased social anxiety and depression. This has been affirmed by a number of studies.
Further studies have demonstrated that phones are not as safe for our physical health as we have been led to believe. It turns out that radiation - especially close to our heads - especially whilst we are sleeping - isn't that good for us and could be storing up future brain disorders and cancer. Which is concerning when some kids as young as 10 have phones.
In addition they can make certain addictions easier to get into and maintain. Gaming, gambling, porn to mention just a few. Also, I don't really think about it that much (just like the majority) but we are so enamoured with our mobiles that we discount that our every movement is being tracked. So few of us have VPNs and encryption and even passwords beyond the basics.
Still, having said all that I was glad to get my phone back. :) I texted my friend, looked up Alison Brie (of course that's who she is!), checked out the weather report (snow), popped on Steemit (naturally) and finally deleted a huge quantity of emails that didn't need reading. Now, what's this I'm seeing about a Virus?