Are Mobile Devices Making Us Rude?

Warning. Slight rant ahead.

During the past week, in ONE day, I was:

  • Bumped into and knocked off balance while rounding a street corner (because someone had their head buried in their mobile device)
  • Almost spilled on with my soup when someone got up from their seat at a takeout restaurant as I passed by (because they had their head buried in their mobile device)
  • Slammed into while riding the subway when the train came to an abrupt halt (because someone had their head buried in their mobile device)
  • Barreled into as I entered the turnstile to my office building even though I was already badged in (because someone had their head buried in their mobile device)
  • Stuck at a green light that eventually turned red, keeping the line of cars from moving (because someone had their head buried in their mobile device)

And should I also mention all the people I talked to who didn’t look at me during the discussion (because they had their head buried in their mobile device)?

copyright missapocok | Flickr

copyright missapocok | Flickr

What’s happened to us? Have common courtesies been thrown out the window because people have decided that it’s more important to be glued to cell phones than paying attention to what’s going on around them? Have we forgotten that we’re sharing space with other individuals who are also in the home or office, or on the sidewalk or road? Have we become that self-centered that we think it’s okay to step on someone else’s feet or knock them down or spill a beverage on them because we think the cell phone is more important than politeness and civility?

I’m utterly flummoxed.

And yes, that’s a toned down word for what I’m really thinking. 

Because in every instance, I was the one who was glared at or cursed at for a situation the offending party thought was my fault. 

<Insert headshake here>

I understand that mobile technology helps us. That it keeps us connected to important information like news and emails and appointments. But the key word here, folks, is “important”, and “important” doesn’t equate to “everything”. It’s not necessary to check your Facebook feed while you’re walking through a crowd. It’s not necessary to view email while sitting at a red light. It’s not necessary to read about an entertainer’s latest house purchase or lavish wedding or public faux pas while people are trying to get in and out of a building.

Because not everything happening on your mobile device is important. 

Much like I said in a recent blog, “Our devices hold out the false promise that there is something more important, more urgent, more interesting than our present-moment experience.” And that false sense of urgency is making us rude. I’m sorry, but it is. I’m all for staying connected. I really, truly am. But can we do it more mindfully, and with the understanding and acceptance that we’re sharing space with other people?

If not, then maybe it’s time to decide if you have an addiction to your mobile device. 

/end of rant

Thoughts, anyone?

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About terriponce

I write about twists, turns, past lives and suspense.
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13 Responses to Are Mobile Devices Making Us Rude?

  1. Gloria Alden says:

    This so resonates with me. I’m tired of hearing people talking in grocery stores or other places and sometimes think they’re talking to me if they’re behind me. I sat in a living room with my teenage grandson and about seven other teenagers and not one was talking to me or anyone else. They were all texting. I barely escaped a serious accident when a man came out of a service plaza on the turnpike and drifted in front of me even though I’d switched to the far lane. When he drifted back, I saw him looking down at his phone. I have visiting with someone who gets a phone call and then starts chatting with someone about something that could wait until later.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for channeling my thoughts. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said hello and the person has looked directly at me without responding because they had earbuds in and couldn’t be bothered to even smile. We’re less social. I’ve seen mothers yapping on the phone while taking their child for a walk, and all the time the child is saying, “Mommy. Mommy. Mommy,” trying to get mom’s attention. There are also studies that the multi-tasking done on these devices is killing the reason and logic centers in our brain. Rude. Unsocial. Dumb. That’s why I keep my cell phone turned off except when I need it for something really important.

    Liked by 1 person

    • terriponce says:

      Thanks for your thoughts! It can be a challenging thing to navigate – the fine balance between staying connected and being “social”, as you put it. I fear being “connected” is making us more “disconnected”.

      Like

  3. Rude? Not really. At least not if they apologized afterwards. Clueless, oblivious, lost in their own world… definitely! 😀

    Like

  4. jarleneculiner says:

    Thanks Terri. You’ve written down what I’m always saying. And, yes, it’s so annoying when people bash into you on the street because they’re looking at their telephone, then blame you. But what I find most — amusing? perplexing? astounding? — is seeing couples together at a restaurant or cafe, not talking, not sitting in a pleasant and comfortable silence, but both looking at their own phone. No conversation. No exchange. No thinking. No ideas. Manipulated zombie world.

    Like

    • terriponce says:

      Interesting you should bring this up. I saw this the other night at a restaurant, too. A couple at their table, in dim lighting, with beautiful ambience, and they were both buried in their cell phones. Barely any conversation or interaction at all. I found that sad.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Penn says:

    They’re just not thinking. Period. They *are* living in the moment. Their moment. And unaware of anything but *their* moment. What was the difference between my enjoying Caboolture Lakes with my dogs and the Pokemon GO players with their phones? We were all getting fresh air, all getting exercise, interacting with fellow Lakes visitors. I guess the major difference was I was able to remain spatially aware. They were not. Until they looked…up. It is what it is. It is done. And we that are still spatially aware have to be more vigilant to compensate. It is what it is.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I must agree Terri, I see Mum’s pushing their buggies into oncoming traffic because they’re too busy looking at their phones to notice they’re actually crossing a road! Luckily, it’s mainly at road junctions near shops, so traffic is slower, but even so, it’s getting ridiculous 🐵

    Liked by 1 person

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