A new ‘Lockdown Mode’ will let iPhone users block capabilities or features that could be exploited by spyware planted on devices. — © AFP Amy Osborne
One of the most worn-out joke subjects in standup comedy is phones. “Kids these days…” or “I married a wrong number”, etc. The trouble is that these things are a true obstacle to communication in person and on the phone.
The phone culture is basically just another global disaster in progress. Phones are exciting, convenient, fun… And time-consuming like nothing else on Earth. They’re interruption factories. Just when you’ve got your one and only uncommitted neuron focused, they interrupt. When you’re interrupted, they interrupt the interruption.
The subject of phone etiquette must be one of the most useless of all search topics ever invented. It devolves into everything else like the phone is an attendee for everything you do. Etiquette is non-existent. Everyone “knows” how to be polite when they’ve got a phone call in a meeting. Sure, they do. Makes no difference. Better still, you can interrupt everyone else’s business with your phone call.
Phones and kids
Phones are a great way of persecuting kids and getting into negotiations with parents for phone use. The bullying issue is still a thing 20 years later. The traumatized kids can carry it around for the rest of their lives. Great deal you have there.
There are too many risks. The fabulous new birthday present becomes a threat. This is where that ugly conversation happened so you need a new phone. Kids don’t have enough scar tissue to manage that.
Nor do parents. An added security risk in this happy little world may be more than the grinding teeth can handle. It’s a worry on top of the other worries. Think hard about how to manage it, because you’ll have to manage it.
Communication, you say?
It’s a matter of opinion how much more inefficient this process can get as a form of communication. The golden rule is that all phone calls come at the wrong time when you can’t deal with them.
I can visualize a whole stadium all saying at the same time, “I’ll get back to you”. Arguably worse is the fact that when taking a phone call in public or among colleagues, you’re thinking on the fly.
Your response to a caller may leave a lot to be desired socially even to yourself, never mind other people. The people around you may have thought that you were a real person or something. You, however, can prove otherwise with a phone.
The phone is a potentially dangerous thing by definition. If you’re glued to your phone, you’re also glued to every imaginable unwanted interaction with anyone who can call you. It’s a social burden, not an asset.
The other good news is that you’re paying through the nose for all these portable horrors. You are actually paying good money to be disrupted anytime someone feels like it. Productivity? Forget it. There’s no such thing when you’re “abbreviated” when doing something by phone.
There’s no such thing as privacy, either. As a security risk, phones are an industry in itself. Your whole life is visible. Even that tense phone call about the pizza is on there, somewhere. Texts, emails, voicemail, whatever. It’s all there. That can get you into a lot of quite expensive trouble.
Your phone is also a great excuse for others to load you up with their problems. They sent you a message about that job due 2 weeks ago. It’s logged. They can prove it. All you can prove is that the job wasn’t done then and that you had a lot of messages.
Most of the technology on your phone is ancient. It’s a package of technologies, not necessarily anything new. About half of the tech is about 50 years old. Some of it is under 10 years old, but not much. The sheer hysteria about new features somehow ignores how anything but new most of it is.
Remember when 5G was going to change the world? It didn’t. 6G is now under development, and the main deal now is that 5G is a “gateway” to 6G. Who’d have thunk it?
All of this is simply to communicate from A to B.
That is quite literally all you actually need.
In the past, which was 5 seconds ago for phone-brains, there was such a thing as shutting up. It was considered prudent, even sane.
There’s an old Roman saying, “If you’d kept your mouth shut we would have thought you were clever”. There’s a German saying, “Shut up when you talk to me,” which is also very useful in many social and business environments.
The last thing on anyone’s mind is functionality. You need a form of communication. You should be controlling it, not it controlling you.
Turn the damn thing off.
Get on with your life. Have a life instead.
The opinions expressed in this Op-Ed are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the Digital Journal or its members.