Roxanne Tellier – Call Me, Maybe

Roxanne DBAWISSocial media surrounds us. You can reach out and touch almost anyone with the click of a button.

We’ve got all sorts of lovely technology. There’s no need to make a phone call, if you can email instead. Or why email when you could just text? Surely, your message is far too urgent to leave to the vagaries of voice mail!

CBC Radio Host, Jian Ghomeshi, recently talked about a wedding reception he attended, where the bride and groom requested that their guests surrender their cellphones and electronic devices during the Jian Ghomeshi.reception. Although everyone grumbled at first, he noted that, as the evening wore on, people actually interacted with each other more intensely. Without the constant interruptions of calls and texts, the guests had no easy excuses for avoiding the meeting and greeting of both new friends and old. He noted that the evening was one of the most pleasant he’d had in years.

In actual fact, if you’re not a transplant surgeon awaiting news of the imminent arrival of a human organ – that incoming call can probably wait.

people on cellsThere’s really nothing sadder than seeing a group of people, gathered together, but all staring at their own little cell phones. Ignoring those around you, in search of something more entertaining and immediate on the ‘net, sends a pretty clear message that the person beside you is kind of boring, or at the very least, not as important as what might be coming down the wire. Really, it is just rude.

There’s a danger of a mental disconnection as well, when we let our lives revolve around that smartphone. Last year, a car lost control and hit a light pole near a local high school, just as the kids were leaving for the day. The kids leapt into action; they took pictures of the vehicle and the passenger, or called their friends to tell them what had happened. No one called 911 to report the accident.

It’s like living life through a lens.   There’s a need – and the accompanying technology – to record and report on even the most mundane event, but no apparent impulse to connect or be of help. Live life long enough as an observer and the sense of interconnectivity between other human beings becomes fainter, less urgent.

Best Party EverBeing a slave to your cell phone and instant messaging is an addiction, just like gambling or substance abuse. The quest for a better, faster, smarter phone, with all the bells and whistles, is a compulsion as heady as any drug.

Have you seen – or are you – someone who cannot put their phone down, even while walking, driving, and eating?

Researchers have developed a new word for people who suffer anxiety when their phone is not in their hands. Nomophobia refers to people who just can’t seem to stop checking for new messages, and who worry constantly that they might lose their mobile device. Eventually, the nomophobe becomes removed from social situations, overly dependent on the device for even the simplest tasks.

But so what, right? What could be so wrong about wanting to stay in touch with your friends? What if there’s an emergency, and someone needs to reach you immediately?

The problem lies with how our devices distance us from each other, rather than bring us closer.

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about Smartphone Addiction: Addiction and dependency on the most sophisticated of communication systems (computers, tablets, and smart phone) decreases academic performance, face to face communication, social relations, causes psychological problems, and sometimes results in death. According to Dolan, “Addiction specialist Michael Dow said some people experience withdrawal symptoms like anxiety, insomnia and depression which are typically associated with substance abuse.” Most of the younger generation and college students are highly depend on computers, smart phones and the internet. They spend most of their time engaged with these man-made machines. Some of the younger generation forget their surroundings and they are not comfortable enough to make conversation with their own friends. Because of high dependability on modern communication devices, the number of car accidents increases from time to time due to texting, receiving, and making phone calls while driving. The recent news states that “The pilot of a medical helicopter that ran out of fuel and crashed, killing four people, was distracted by text messages when he should have been conducting pre-flight checks, accident investigators said Tuesday. The case “juxtaposes old issues of pilot decision making with a 21st-century twist” — distraction by portable electric devices, said National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Deborah Hersman (Helicopter ran out of gas; 4 died in the crash). These devices are helpful in acquiring information easily about anything, but people should know how, when and where to use these systems. You should consider the other parts of life including social relation and face to face communication. We should increase the performance of our own brains rather than depend on the machines so much.” Smartphone Addiction 

human-touchOkay, so maybe you are not in danger of crashing a helicopter while texting. But our social connections make us feel happier and more fulfilled.  For some, interaction on Facebook or other social media, finding old friends online, sharing status updates and pictures of cuddly kittens, is enough. For others, however, the distractions may keep them going, but won’t make them feel any less sad or lonely. It’s only with physical interaction, the “human touch,” that a person feels like they have a place in society.

According to psychologist Louise Hawkley, “Loneliness is not what people typically think it is. It’s not being alone. People can be alone and not be lonely. People can be surrounded by other people and yet feel lonely.”

I’m  So Lonesome, I Could Cry.”

Here’s a fun little test from Psychology Today. Take a peek if you think you might be one of those people dangerously obsessed with your phone.

The Fun Little Test

And call me. Maybe.

= RT =

Roxanne’s column appears here every Sunday 

Contact us at dbawis@rogers.com

DBAWIS ButtonRoxanne Tellier has been singing since she was 10 months old … no, really. Not like she’s telling anyone else how to live their lives, because she’s not judgmental, and most 10 month olds need a little more time to figure out how to hold a microphone. After years of doing things she didn’t want to do, she’s found herself working with a bunch of crazy people who are as batshit crazy and devoted to music as she is, and so she can be found every Monday at Cherry Cola’s, completely unable to think of anything funny to say, as the co-host of Bob Segarini’s The Bobcast. Come and mock her. She’s good with that. And she laughs. A lot. But not at you.

2 Responses to “Roxanne Tellier – Call Me, Maybe”

  1. Amen. My phone never rings yet it goes everywhere with me but for me it’s insurance, if my car breaks down, I can reach someone. It also keeps phone numbers available for my non-techie buddy. Occasionally I use the maps.
    It’s the same as email. I was just saying to someone how much I missed him even though I speak to him every day by email. I miss his smile, warmth, the wonderufl energy/vibe he gives me. Kids are missing out on great personal connections by communicating through the airwaves instead of in person.

  2. Glenn Gallup Says:

    Good column.

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