By Ron Moore
I’m old, but I value and use what electronic technology can do for me. Communication at convenient times for both the sender and receiver. A wealth of information within seconds of a request.
But I don’t understand the tremendous attraction for daylong, almost constant usage of that tiny smartphone screen. Once hooked, it appears to become an addiction — apparently normal adults walking or standing hunched over with their arm holding a device to their face.
I see multi-tasking, which frequently involves people not giving full attention to their ongoing conversation with “real humans” or to a meeting or a class or a performance. It certainly borders on discourtesy and disrespect. And they certainly must miss part of the essence of the conversation or the value of the meeting.
What is it about that phone message that can’t be attended to later? I really don’t have a clue.
Using the phone while driving means divided attention and less steering wheel control — this could result in an accident that would kill or injure others.
My own home computer screen has a keyboard sized for my fingers and provides easily read print. When I access it, I am concentrating only on it. But I can and will stop to talk to my good wife who can arrive at unexpected times.
I do have some admiration for those smartphone addicts who cannot only multitask but read the tiny print and, most of all, rapidly text with fingers that are three times bigger than the letters they touch without the slight inaccuracy producing the wrong letter. How do they do it?
Are we giving up our privacy to correspondents whom we have never personally met? Are we are accepting as true the unsigned “information” on Internet sites that has no authority or even the original sender unidentified?
The pendulum swings with every new technological advance that we ordinary people can access; 80 percent of Americans have Internet at their fingertips. Many younger than 30 wouldn’t consider reading a paper newspaper or magazine and would go crazy if their screens were cut off for even a few days.
I will continue to avoid tiny screens — my ophthalmologist has enough challenges. I trust that, in time, an increasing number will use the handheld smartphones only when immediate contact or information is needed and courtesy for others is again paramount.
Ron Moore of Cedar Rapids is a risk management consultant and a former school board member. Comments: email@example.com