Michel: Control your cell phone, not the other way around!

Published 7:21 am Wednesday, September 2, 2020

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“It’ll be here Tuesday,” my husband said using his phone to place an order for a screen saver.
“I never imagined that one day we’d use our phones to shop,” I said.
Nor did I think my cell phone would replace my calendar, alarm clock, landline, calculator, phone book, note pad, and sometimes my computer.
I reluctantly accepted the cell phone my husband bought for me in 1994. “Why would I ever need that?” was my immediate response. (I was posed the same question a few years earlier when he suggested we buy a home computer.)
I decided to use my first cell phone for emergencies only. I’ll never forget my first ‘emergency.’ Driving home from somewhere, I decided on Taco Bell for dinner. Why go home to get everyone’s order when I had a phone right there in the car? From that point on, I rarely left home without my phone.
I love the convenience of a cell phone, but I was still surprised to read of an experience by Martin Lindstrom. Using an MRI, he observed the brain activity when the participants saw or heard their phones ringing. There was a flurry of activity in the area of the brain associated with feelings of love and compassion. Lindstrom said, “It was as if they were in the presence of a girlfriend, boyfriend, or family member.” People (or maybe just the ones in Lindstrom’s study) love their phones. Of all the things a cell phone can do, may we never allow it to replace human interaction or be the object of our love.
I’ve observed people in restaurants silently eating while looking at their phone or talking while they text. And I’ve been just as guilty. Worse yet are when children must compete with a phone for their parent’s attention. May we never allow phones to replace human interaction. How can something invented to connect people be the very cause of disconnect?

Ronny Michel can be reached at rmichel@rtconline.com.