|My husband playing a game on his mobile device.|
However, there is a downside to all of this mobile usage. Rich Ling states, “The ringing of the device, the perception that one talks too loudly, and the sense that one coerces others to eavesdrop on their conversations are all seen as intrusions on the public sphere. (2004)” All too often we find ourselves in the uncomfortable situation of hearing a total stranger’s conversation, because they either do not realize it or just do not care that everyone around them can hear every word they speak. Even worse, in my opinion, are the people who carelessly use hands-free devices like Bluetooth headsets. These people walk around talking to themselves, and you sometimes mistakenly think they are talking to you. Another aspect of mobile dependency is the tendency to never put the thing away when socializing with friends or family. All too often when I get together with my family there comes a point when we all realize we are sitting in a room with every one of us looking at our phones playing games or even texting one another from across the room. Attachment to our mobile devices can be a social handicap if we allow the use of these devices to replace face-to-face interactions. I have noticed another side effect of the constantly connected world we live in. When getting together with family or friends you have not seen in a while, there is nothing to talk about, because everyone already knows everything that everyone has been doing; therefore, with a lack of conversational material, we revert back to playing with our phones. The same concept exists in the media. There is no need to wait for the six o’clock news when you can get the news in real time by going to any number of news or social media sites. Take the weather channel app for example, instead of waiting to hear it from the meteorologist on your local news cast, you can simply pull out your phone and get everything from a seven day outlook to hour-by-hour forecast with live streaming radar. I guess the key to it all is finding a balance between the real world and the digital world. Mobile technology has made our lives more convenient, but like anything else there can be too much of a good thing.