(Listen to the Podcast here)
I want to start out by saying technology is incredible when used correctly and in the right circumstances. Who hasn't used messaging or mobile phones in an emergency, but there is an insidious side to technology, which is spreading due to our inability to fully understand how and when to use it.
I have talked before about the addiction of social media and the fear of missing out on the latest discussion or message, which is causing significant psychological issues for many, but the insidious nature of technology is now showing in an erosion of good manners and consideration in both personal and social environments.
I have noticed a huge increase in how people are prioritising behaviours resulting from techology based addiction, over face-to-face interactions.
This started a while ago with the habit people formed of stopping face-to-face conversation to 'take a call', with no real consideration of the impact on those standing right in front of them. How many of us have been in conversation with a friend, loved one or stranger, only to find ourselves halted mid sentence as their phone rings and they utter those now commonplace words "can you hang on while I take this", or worse, the hand put up as they turn away and answer the call? Strangely, we seem to accept this behaviour, but would we accept someone physically coming over and starting to talk to the other person as we are in mid sentence, quite so calmly and easily? I suspect not. It is the digital equivalent of queue jumping.
More disturbing to me is the increase I have noticed in those walking around with in-ear earphones or 'buds', who don't feel it appropriate to remove them to have a face-to-face conversation. This is signalling not just a lack of respect for that individual, but also that they do not place any value on the conversation or the person engaging in it. It is a simple act to remove the earphone(s) to engage with a person, and replace them after, which I do myself when I use them, so there is no justification for not doing so.
The other behaviour which is on the rise, is the apparent lack of ability to place the phone at your ear for a call, but to place the caller on loudspeaker and not only disturb everyone around them, but more importantly have the private conversation publicly broadcast, undoubtedly without the permission or knowledge of that individual, which is not only disrespectful but could be a breach of their rights to privacy.
We live in an ever shrinking world, in which space and privacy are often at a premium, and now more than ever, we should consider others as we navigate our way through our days. The problem with making life 'all about ourselves' is that that is who we will ultimately end up with; just ourselves, and a reputation for being selfish and inconsiderate.
Our advances in technology are rapid, but we are failing to ensure our intellectual ability to understand how to use it appropriately keeps up with it. Having done so would have avoided the abuse of technology to bully and terrorise others, and the creation not just of new forms of crime and criminal, but the degradation of our existing standards of manners and consideration.
Let's use technology for good and do justice to what it is often developed for, which is the betterment of our lives together.
Have a great two weeks, as I am taking a break next week to further enrich my experiences of the world with a trip to Florence, as I live to my motto of "Live Life, don't Watch Life"
Be safe and enjoy your friends and loved ones.