Technology can be advantageous, like in furthering the Gospel, deepening family and friend relationships, and making communication efficient. I love my phone and how it makes spending time with my husband easier, but your smart phone might be dehumanizing people. Here are five ways you might be offending people:
Talking at The Cash Register: When you are buying groceries, put away your phone. No phone call is so important that it can’t wait til you are through the line. What you say to the cashier and the bagger by taking the phone call is: “You are not important. You are nobody.”
Paranoia About the Cell Phone Causing Brain Cancer: If you worry about your phone causing brain cancer, you probably put your phone on speaker every time you answer it. Nobody wants to be a part of your phone conversation. It’s disruptive, especially in church or in a quiet coffee shop where people generally go to work. If you are that paranoid about the phone, get a landline or don’t answer your phone when around people.
Checking Facebook While Having Coffee With a Friend: Put away your cell phone and focus on the conversation. When you meet eye contact with someone as they are talking, you make them feel good, like you are involved in their life. You give them worth. You can always check your phone while they go to the bathroom or if they step away for a refill.
Talking Too Loudly: Answering a cell phone at a restaurant might be offensive, but if your voice rises above the noise level of everyone around you, you are being disruptive to a captive audience. Be aware of people around you.
Texting Across The Room: Remember when your mom said not to whisper in front of people? Texting across the room is a lot like whispering and is unnecessary. If you have to “whisper,” go to the bathroom and text your friend quickly. But, as in number three, texting across the room is rude. If it’s only you two in the room, texting is not an efficient way of conversing. Why not just talk to each other?
I blame our lack of people skills on how fast the technology came upon us. Parents and children took to the technology like a child with a box of crayons in front of a newly painted wall. Most have exhibited behaviors that before were taboo, like talking on the phone while paying for groceries or texting each other when you are in the same room. You control the technology; the technology doesn’t control you.