Android Smartphone – Blessing Or Curse?

I finally moved into the 21st century and got an android phone last year.  I had always thought being so connected is just too intrusive, however with the phenomenon of texting, and that being the primary means of communicating by teenagers and younger people, I decided I had to change my point of view.  Can’t beat them, join them!

Let’s start with how the android is a blessing:

  1. Information/answers can be obtained or accessed real time, anytime
  2. You can be reached at anytime, if not by voice, by text, tweets or pokes.  This can be useful when you are in a meeting, and has to be reached by the children, spouse or pediatrician.
  3. You no longer have to wait to read emails, you can be among the first to respond to a time sensitive request
  4. Friends and family are always accessible via social media such as Facebook
  5. You can Google a target business, call, and get directions, all from one command
  6. The phone can be your GPS, television, camera, video-camera, radio…..sooo many devices all in one.
  7. How about the applications (apps)?  You use the phone to read, take notes, shop, diet, track jogging, and the list goes on and on…depending on what you are into. Remember the phrase, “There is an app for that.”?

The very things that makes the android a blessing are the same things that make it a curse.  Let’s see how:

  1. Information is so readily accessible, that teachers now are doubting research work, it’s hard to tell when interviewing someone on the phone if they are being honest, or Googling the answers.
  2. We can be reached at any time, no longer can we say we missed the call.  If you did, chances are you were texted, tweeted, emailed, or poked.
  3. Having emails all the time is good, but really, do we need to be so connected all the times.  At work, this can be very distracting if not managed properly.
  4. People are now being bullied and harassed on Facebook
  5. How many people have gotten into accidents driving and texting or entering the address for the directions.
  6. The applications are useful, but they can be time consuming if not managed properly.

Did you notice that almost all the positives are also the negatives?  Firstly, do we really have to be connected all the time.  Where is the time for self reflection, and being connected to the ones around you, or the task at hand.  There have been many reported car accident and mishaps because the users were on the phone, and not focused on the task at hand.  And how about work, do you want to be working constantly? or even thinking about work 24/7?  This is what happens with the android phone , again, you are always connected, so you are always available to answer emails or a quick text.   I recall a few years ago when we had to be paged on the job to get a phone call, looking back now, I realized it worked.  People had to have a real need back then to call, so children were not calling parents on the job just because they were bored and did not know what to do.  Wives or husband did not routinely call each other to arrange pickup and drop off.  These details were arranged in advance of the workday, and rightly so.  It makes you think, how many people died back then because there was no easy cell phone access?  I would bet the answer to this question would be less than those who have died due to cell phone access.  The worst negative however, is the texting and driving.  I have seen so many accidents in which that had to have been a contributing factor.  I have also had near misses of having people running into the rear of my car while texting on their phone.

How about the rudeness factor as well?  I have gotten into the bad habit of being out at dinner, or even with company, and find myself checking emails or texts.  Before I had my phone, I could not believe people did this, but now that I have the phone, I can see how it happens.  One must make a conscious decision to put the phone down, as its addictive nature is overwhelming, we get so used to having constant information, that we want more.  Another negative to having such easy and constant access, is that this gives teenagers yet another avenue to bully and harass each other.  They can take pictures of each other and blast them out to an entire network on the fly.   This as we know has caused many problems for parents and the authorities.

How can you limit the intrusion, and where should we draw the line? There are some application on the phone that I have made the decision to say no to.  From the beginning, I decided that I would not have the social media such as Facebook active on my phone.  This is one area in which I did not see a need to remain connected always.  Neither do I see the value to be followed or to follow someone on my phone, so I do not have twitter app active either.  Lately, I have removed email access as I have found that it was becoming too distracting when I am at work. I was always checking to see if an email came in. These are areas that you can evaluate, and see what works and does not work for you.

In summary, the android phone is a great device when used and controlled properly.  However, if misused, productivity on the job can be lost, and there can be dire consequences in some cases.  So each must decide  how to have self discipline and control when using the phone.




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