Step Away From The Phone

I used to be one of those people who swore that I did not need a blackberry… that I didn’t want one.  I remember very clearly stating that there was no way I needed to be that accessible to people all the time.  But as I said, I USED to be one of those people.  I’ve had my blackberry for about a year & a half & now that I have it… well, I’m hooked.

Day 12 - My Blackberry

I have discovered that it is actually quite handy to have my email on my phone, especially my work email.  Plus more than once while I’ve been out somewhere I’ve looked up a phone number or directions, both things I couldn’t have done with my old phone.  And yes, I do check my Facebook on my phone too.  But, I’m not one of those people (I think!) whose phone has become an extension of my body.

I find that I am on my phone more when I am alone… I guess this is mostly because it’s something to do & a way of tricking myself into not feeling so alone.  When my hubby is home, however, or I am around friends or family, my phone is most likely on a shelf somewhere or in my purse.  I am not one of those people who has my phone by my side 24 hours a day & I am not always on it.  But I know people who are…  & sometimes cell phones drive me crazy.

I don’t think you need a cell phone when you are seven years old… you probably don’t even need one when you are thirteen.  I know that times have changed but I didn’t get my first cell phone till I was in university & maybe 20 years old!  If I don’t need to be that accessible to people, children certainly don’t.  And while playing games on cell phones may be a good way to occupy a few minutes while you are waiting to get your oil changed or for your dentist appointment, I’m not a fan of using it to occupy your child’s time.  I know a ton of kids who know how to play all the games on their parents cell phones & that’s fine… it’s a choice those parents have made… I just don’t think it will be a choice I make when I have kids.  Considering my love of reading, I will be more likely to say: “Here, try a book… they’re good for you!”

In anycase, all this rambling about cell phones brings me to the reason for this post.  I must admit, I’ve had a case of writers block this week & have not been able to come up with anything interesting to write about.  Even the photos I’ve taken each day have been boring & not worth posting (perhaps a sign that I need to get out more!).  This morning on the way into work, however, I heard something very interesting on the radio.  It’s a new game that’s been dubbed “Phone Stack” & since being posted by Brian “Lil b” Perez on his blog 6 days ago, it’s gone viral over the internet.  ( The premise of the game is to step away from the phone (my emphasis)… & to actually have a conversation while out with friends or family rather than being glued to your phone.

When out to dinner everyone stacks their phone in the middle of the table & leaves them.  The phone can buzz for notifications, text messages or phone calls & it is a testament of will power to see who can actually leave their phone alone.  The first person to crack picks up the tab.  Pretty interesting, huh?  Although the game was originally intended for a restaurant setting I am already imagining how this game could be modified to be played at home – the consequences would just have to be different.  Let’s see… if you can’t resist the urge to look at your phone while eating dinner at home…. the penalty could be say a $2 fine.  Or something like that.  We had a “fine” jar while I was growing up.  My brothers & I went through that teenager phase where we said the word “like”  far too often & out of context.  So much so that it drove my parents crazy & they came up with a plan to try to break us of this bad habit.  There was a jar in the kitchen & every time we used the word “like” out of context, as in “She is like totally like cool” we had to put a dime in the jar.  Not an outrageous sum but at one point, I hate to admit, we probably could have racked up a dollar’s worth of “likes” in one meal.

Which brings us back to the phone stack.  Interesting concept & one that I would like to see in action.  One article I read about phone stack suggested that it was sad that a game like this had to be invented to promote conversation & I tend to agree.   It’s actually given me the motivation to leave my phone alone more often… can you?


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