Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Your Cell is Talking to Those Around You

     omg. omg. Hello. Hello? Are you there, laughter effects? Are you there, Soccer Mom? Are you there, CEO? Hello? 

     My cell has been talking to me, and I have not been listening. My cell has been telling me that I may be addicted, ok, maybe I am. My cell is speaking so loudly; it’s deafening, and, apparently, I’m already deaf. How about you? Do you carry your cell everywhere you go? Can you spend a day without it? Do you charge it next to your bed, so you can reach for it in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning? Do you get frustrated when it runs out of charge in the middle of the day, and you don’t have a port to charge it nearby? Do you put your cell down on the table when you meet your friend for lunch? Do you find yourself thumbing whenever you’re waiting for a meeting to start or a traffic light to turn? Do you check your messages more than once an hour? omg. Hello. 

      My savvy daughter, Katey, travels the country giving talks to parents and kids about the dangers of apps, the frightening rise in teen suicides due to cyber bullying and teens’ desperate need to belong. Well, guess what, folks, it’s more than teens. It’s many of us, even those of us in our golden years who want to “stay connected” who may be addicted. Katey posted a video by a young man, Simon Sinek, a brilliant author and speaker, who delivers a shocking and must-be-heard message about devices and why we need to wake up. His talk about Millenials and their upbringing by “poor parenting” in a technological environment that threatens their social and emotional health is spot on. But his words truly resonated with me, and I am neither a Millenial nor a parent of one. He said, “When you put your phone on the table whether it’s up or down, you are telling that person that he is just not that important.” Wow. I certainly don’t want to deliver that message, especially to my friends. He said that Millenials don’t know how to form deep personal relationships and that they complain that, for many of them, their friends are people to have fun with, but not those to whom they would go to in need. This video is not just for Millenials and their parents; it’s for all of us, and we need to listen now before it’s too late. 

     Today, I will keep my phone in my purse. I will not check messages more than once an hour. I will think about his profound research and reflect on how I can first address my own addiction, and then how I can gently influence others who obviously suffer from it too, but particularly young people who don’t even realize the harm it may be doing.

     He said, “There are no apps for job satisfaction or meaningful relationships.” There are no apps for these, I repeat. These two are the foundation of our existence. Without them, there is no quality of life. No wonder, depression is on the rise, and suicides are soaring. In a world full of hate, revenge, entitlement and narcissism, modeled by many of our nation’s leaders and entertainers, we need connection. We are hard-wired to connect, and our phones which seem to deliver that connection really do not. Think about it. Remember, we model what our kids see. We model what our grand-children see. We model what society sees. Go to any airport, Board Room, restaurant, library, concert hall, and you will see cells everywhere. Peoples’ heads are down. They are not looking at their hearts. I’m waking up. Are you?

***See "Simon Sinek's Millenials in the Workplace" --Eye-opening!